North America’s favourite sports panel was introduced to the greatest trophy in sports, and it was perfect.
During Wednesday’s Inside the NBA on TNT broadcast, former NHL player and coach Rick Tocchet made an appearance on the show, bringing along the Stanley Cup and passing it around the panel.
The first to get his moment with the Cup was Shaquille O’Neal, a Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion. He hesitated to lift the heavy trophy over his head, hilariously muttering that he has “bad shoulders from carrying the [Los Angeles] Lakers, the [Orlando] Magic and the [Miami] Heat.”
Ernie Johnson, the show’s host and the only member of the panel not to play in the NBA, raised Lord Stanley's mug and exclaimed, “oh man, I’m a Stanley Cup champion.” Kenny “The Jet” Smith was handed it next, lifting it high and reliving his moments as a back-to-back champion with the Houston Rockets in the 1990s.
Tocchet was preparing to hand the Cup to the last member of the panel, Charles Barkley, before he was told not to. Barkley’s explanation was simple and one many sports fans and athletes can probably appreciate.
“I would never touch a championship trophy,” he said. “It’s just a rule I have, anybody knows that. Even if it’s not my sport.”
Barkley, as his fellow panellists often remind him, failed to win a championship during his illustrious 16-year NBA career. An 11-time All-Star, one-time MVP and Hall of Famer, “Chuck” fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1993 in his only career Finals appearance.
Tocchet won the Cup as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992, and twice as an assistant coach with the Pens in 2016 and '17. The 58-year-old has worked as an analyst for the NHL on TNT in the show’s inaugural season. The show has been a hit since TNT acquired NHL broadcast rights last summer, replicating the liveliness and humour of their NBA counterpart with co-panellists Liam McHugh, Anson Carter, Paul Bissonnette and Wayne Gretzky.
More from Yahoo Sports