Charles Barkley hasn’t forgotten.
After Shane Heal got under his skin all the way back in 1996, the NBA legend had a message for the Australian on Friday.
Heal’s daughter, Shyla, was drafted with the No. 8 overall pick in the WNBA Draft, and as the NBA on TNT crew, which included Barkley, went through the names, the Hall of Famer spoke up.
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“Can I ask you a question?” Barkley began. “That one girl, her name was Heal from Australia …”
“The daughter of,” Ernie Johnson replied.
“Of Shane Heal?” Barkley asked.
“Yes,” Johnson said, before Barkley continued.
“Shane Heal, I want to congratulate you on your daughter,” he said, “but you are so lucky I didn’t kill your a** at the Olympics.
Kenny Smith jumped in: “Didn’t you want to fight Shane Heal at the Olympics?”
Barkley replied: “He wanted to fight me! You almost didn’t have no daughter.”
Heal and Barkley went face-to-face 25 years ago in a pre-Olympics exhibition game after the American undercut his hot-shooting rival.
Heal had caught fire from deep, and in a fiery game, it was a dirty Barkley close-out that very nearly triggered a fight.
Team USA won the warm-up and their 1996 Games showdown too, with Heal earning a deal in the NBA off the back of his impressive international form.