Shaq, Barkley join fans in SLC for TNT Road Show

Feb 16, 2023, 9:59 PM | Updated: 10:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It may only be Thursday, but when the NBA All-Star event rolls into town after 30 years, there’s no such thing as too early.

“This is amazing. We don’t get a lot of huge events in Utah,” said Jazz fan Eni O’Donnell. “So, to have it here this year, I’m just excited to go all in and experience such a fantastic event.”

“30 years since it’s been here so to have it back, it’s amazing,” Celtics fan Sean O’Donnell said.

“I’ve been a basketball fan my whole life so this is like heaven for me,” said Scott Richins.

Richins and the O’Donnells were among hundreds of fans who packed into The Complex in Salt Lake City for a fan experience to kick off the All-Star events.

Of course, it helped to have a little star power to get things started.

TNT’s inside the NBA hosts—Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and  Earnie Johnson—set up shop at The Complex for the Road Show.

“I mean, being here I think brings back good memories,” Smith said, adding, “We used to beat the Jazz in the playoffs, with the Rockets!”

Shaq said he was looking forward to “just enjoying the festivities, seeing who wants to make a name for himself.”

“Just hope the young fellas know and understand this is the time they can make a name for themselves.”

Shaq and Barkley played on the teams that faced off the last time the All-Stars were in town in 1993. Barkley described Salt Lake as an “underrated” city.

“I’m glad to be back here in Salt Lake. It’s a tremendous city. They got tremendous fans,” he said.

Speaking of the fans, Barkley said, the games were always sold out and the fans were always loud.

“They’ve always been great to me. I mean, but they’re hard fans. First of all, you’re supposed to cheer for your team. That doesn’t bother me at all. You’re not supposed to cheer for the other team.”

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Shaq, Barkley join fans in SLC for TNT Road Show