'He's lucky': Charles Barkley sledges Aussie great over daughter

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
NBA great Charles Barkley couldn't help but crack a joke after Shane Heal's daughter Shyla Heal was selected in the WNBA draft. Pictures: NBA on TNT/Getty Images
NBA great Charles Barkley couldn't help but crack a joke after Shane Heal's daughter Shyla Heal was selected in the WNBA draft. Pictures: NBA on TNT/Getty Images

Some sporting grudges aren't easily forgotten - just ask Charles Barkley.

The NBA great showed he would never forget his infamous feud with Australian basketball great Shane Heal after his daughter, Shyla Heal, was selected eighth in the WNBA draft.

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The 19-year-old point guard became the fourth Australian player to be selected in the top 10 of the WNBA draft, following in the footsteps of Lauren Jackson, Liz Cambage and Alanna Smith.

Barkley was part of the panel discussing the draft during the latest episode of NBA on TNT, during which he couldn't help but bring up his and Shane's memorable scrap prior to the 1996 Olympics.

The pair came head to head after Barkley undercut Heal on a closeout during an exhibition match before the Atlanta Games.

“Shane Heal, I want to congratulate you on your daughter,” Barkley said, “but you are so lucky I didn’t kill your a** at the Olympics."

When co-host Ernie Johnson pointed out that Barkley seemed keen on dishing out the hurt to Heal, an amused Barkley was quick to remind him that Heal had been equally antagonistic.

"He wanted to fight me! You almost didn’t have no daughter," he quipped.

Shane, a four-time Olympian, had two stints in the NBA, with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996/97 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2003/04.

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Shyla Heal selected by WNBA's Chicago Sky

Heal says she can make an instant impact in the WNBA after her first-round draft selection.

The 19-year-old Heal says being picked with the eighth selection by Chicago Sky is a "dream come true".

"I have put absolutely everything into this - blood, sweat and tears," Heal said after the draft on Friday (AEDT).

"It has all paid off in this moment.

"I haven't been able to sleep the last two or three nights, I've been thinking about where I'm going to go.

"When I finally heard my name, weight dropped off my shoulders."

The irrepressible Heal, who made her WNBL debut at just 14-years-old, said she expected to play in the WNBA season which starts next month, rather than be "stashed" away as a development prospect.

Shyla Heal was selected with the eight pick of the 2021 WNBA draft. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Shyla Heal was selected with the eight pick of the 2021 WNBA draft. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

"I have worked since I was a little kid for this, I don't want to be stashed, I'm ready to go now," she said.

Ex-WNBA superstar Lauren Jackson, now Basketball Australia's head of women's basketball, said Heal had the work ethic to succeed in the US.

"Everyone who has watched Shyla in the WNBL over recent seasons knows how incredibly talented she is," Jackson said.

"But it's her hard work away from the cameras which is even more impressive."

Heal was the sole Australian selection at the draft with compatriot Tiana Mangakahia overlooked and now hoping to be picked as an undrafted free agent ahead of the WNBA season starting May 14.

With AAP

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