Shaq Vows Support For Charles Barkley Over LIV Golf Controversy

Charles Barkley
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Ernesto Cova

On paper, Charles Barkley seemed like a perfect fit for LIV Golf. The Saudi-backed tournament has drawn plenty of criticism over alleged ties with terrorist organizations.

However, the Hall of Famer has repeatedly stated that he's only in the sports industry for the money and that he wouldn't mind going the extra mile as long as his employer is willing to meet his asking price.

Barkley Ripped His Critics

Charles Barkley
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Barkley didn't care for the criticism, claiming that everybody in the industry has taken blood money at least once. Needless to say, that did little to smooth things out:

"We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sports washed’ something so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you," Barkley said. "If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause."

Chuck Says Put

Charles Barkley
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Even so, Chuck decided to stay committed to Turner entertainment for the final years of his contract. He turned down LIV's offer, although the money was undisclosed:

“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley told The New York Post “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life. It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.”

Shaq Would've Supported Barkley

Shaquille O'Neal
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Despite all the critics, Chuck's lifelong friend Shaquille O'Neal would've supported his decision to leave. If anything, he's just looking to make as much money as he can:

"No. Charles is a dear friend. I would've supported him every which way," O'Neal told USA Today. "Charles is one of those legends, like Bill Russell, who didn't make a lot of money playing. So if a chance comes up like this at this age that's legal - controversial but legal - you've got to look at it. If he had accepted it, I wouldn't be mad. And if Charles had left? You'd still have me."

Rich Eisen Also Supports Charles

Charles Barkley
Wikimedia | CalDoesIt

Shaq wasn't the only celebrity to show his support for the NBA legend. Rich Eien also talked about how much he enjoys listening to him on NBA on TNT:

"I love watching Charles Barkley. It would absolutely be a bummer to tune in on Thursday nights and not see him because he was at some LIV golf tournament, somewhere on planet Earth," Eisen said.

So, it seems like Barkley isn't going anywhere, at least for now.