Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal had nothing good to say about NBA All-Star Game host site Salt Lake City on Sunday night.
It was the first time Salt Lake City had hosted the event since 1993. Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron 184-175 as Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum won the game’s MVP award. While the players looked like they were enjoying themselves on the court, the off-court festivities, or lack thereof, didn’t sit well with Barkley and O’Neal.
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«These people are going to heaven,» Barkley said on the TNT broadcast of the game. «There is nothing to do in this boring city.»
O’Neal added: «I’ve never eaten so much room service in my life.»
Barkley, who played for the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns during his career, explained why he found Utah’s capital so boring.
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“I can’t smoke, I can’t drink; these people go to heaven,” he added.
The comments did not sit well with at least one state legislator.
«Super disappointing shot,» tweeted state Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake. «Do better, Shaq and Charles! I bet they were locked in the all-star VIP areas and never even made it into town, and they’re just perpetuating a reputation that we’re working hard to change.»
Utah Governor Spencer Cox did not appear to respond to Barkley and O’Neal’s comments, but thanked the state and workers for hosting the All-Star Game, as well as Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and his wife Ashley.
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«Unforgettable week,» Cox tweeted. «Thank you Utah for showing up and showing off. To our new friends, thanks for joining us. A special thanks to Ryan and Ashley Smith for making it so special. I love this place and will always be proud of Utah.»