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After professional athletes end their playing careers in their respective sports, many decide to join the television broadcast booth. It is there where many commentators and analysts relay their insight on the game to the fans who are in attendance from the comfort of their own home. This has been the route that has been traveled recently by Jay Cutler and has been the home of the great Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley for quite some time.

Both Charles and Shaquille have been part of the KIA post and pregame show, a segment that provides coverage on the games that premiere on TNT. After game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, Shaquille and Charles got into a semi-heated debate over who really deserves to be named the "best to have played" on the TNT set.

After the words were over and the game concluded, NBA fans were left with the question that remained without an answer -- who is really better, Shaquille O'Neal or Charles Barkley?

Do Shaq's teammates help or hinder?

When Shaquille O'Neal was drafted out of LSU, he was immediately an NBA star. His days with the Magic, Lakers and the Heat are the years most NBA fans correlate with the success of one of the NBA's most dominant centers of all-time. During his career, Shaq was able to average 23.7 points per game along with 10.9 rebounds. His resume is stacked with accomplishments including being a four-time NBA champion and a 15-time NBA All-Star. Shaq was also able to serve as the MVP in the Finals and regular season three times during his dominant years as the leagues most feared big men. His 14 All-NBA selections only solidified his spot in basketballs Hall of Fame and it is an honor that is well deserved.

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It can be said that Shaq changed the way the center position is played. During the KIA show on TNT, Charles claimed that Shaq would not have acquired his rings without the play of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade [VIDEO]. It is true that the presence of Kobe and Dwyane did help the All-NBA center win the NBA championships as it would help any other player in NBA history. The fact of the matter is that Shaq performed in every way his role required him to while on his championship teams. Having other greats on your team should not nullify your efforts or ranking as an elite player.

Comparing Charles

Charles Barkley was able to accomplish a lot during his time in the NBA as well. When Charles was drafted in the first round by the Sixers out of Auburn, he was ready to make his impact on the NBA. Barkley also averaged a double-double throughout his career as he was able to bring in 22.1 points per game along with 11.7 rebounds. During his career, Barkley was an 11-time NBA All-Star. He was voted to the All-NBA team 11 times as well.

Maybe Charles was so eager to come at the championship rings Shaquille O'Neal has because he does not own one himself. Charles would go down as one of the best players on his team consistently and it was recognized by the Hall Of Fame board. With both players in the NBA Hall of Fame, it is clear that the major difference between the All-Star players is the quantity championship rings. At the end of the day "you play to win the game."