Shaquille O’Neal used to think that the moon was just 10 hours away from the earth. Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson couldn’t believe it.
Shaq is famously goofy in the way he looks at the world, choosing to let humor guide his worldview. This can often lead to counterintuitive beliefs entering his head.
There was a time when Shaquille O’Neal really came on TV and propounded his flat earth theory on Inside the NBA. He was obviously met with looks of incredulity and oodles of laughter, just as he deserved.
Chuck is all for stupid gimmicks, fun and jokes in the studio, which is probably why Shaq is able to act so goofy on the show. But even Chuck can’t match the heights of Shaq’s gimmicky moods when push comes to shove.
Charles Barkley talks about the time Shaquille O’Neal estimated the moon to be 10 hours away
Chuck was recently on Conan O’Brien’s talk show as a guest. The two got along pretty great and this interview is yet another one for basketball fans to exchange chuckles over.
One of the things that the duo discussed was about the time when Shaq tried to make a guesstimate for the time it takes for a space probe to reach the Mars from Earth. Chuck couldn’t contain his laughter even at the thought of that particular occasion.
‘It’s probably closer to get to the moon than L.A’, and we we’re like ‘why?’. He says ’cause when I step outside [in Atlanta], I can see the moon, but I can’t see California.’ And we’re like ‘what?”
This incident had occurred on Inside the NBA sets during the 2016-17 season before the playoffs had begun. NBA Twitter was a thing back then, but it was nowhere near as all-pervasive around basketball discourse as it is today. NBA Twitter made sure this exchange went down the annals of Inside the NBA’s top moments ever.
We later found out that space probes with no payload or manpower are capable of making it to the moon in around just 6-8 hours. But it takes up to 3 days for a manned space mission to reach the moon even with modern tech. So Shaq wasn’t essentially too far off in his guess, was he?