SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Commentary from NBA legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal calling Salt Lake City a “boring-a**” city has state leaders asking the two to “do better.”
During the NBA All-Star game on Sunday, hosted in Salt Lake City, Barkley said Utahns will be “going to heaven” as there isn’t anything to do in Salt Lake City.
“Can’t smoke, can’t drink,” Barkley commented. “These people going to heaven.”
Shaq doubled-down on Barkley’s assessment of Salt Lake City by implying he had barely left his hotel during the All-Star weekend.
“I’ve never ate so much room service in my life,” said the former LA Lakers star.
During their comments, Barkley did defend the Utah capital saying “It’s a great city, but there ain’t nothing to do here.”
Utah State Senator Nate Blouin (D-District 13) didn’t take kindly to the criticism of his represented area, calling out Barkley and Shaq on Twitter and asking them to do better.
“Super disappointing take. Do better Shaq and Charles!” wrote Blouin. “Bet y’all were just cooped up in the All-Star VIP areas and didn’t even get into the city, and are just perpetuating a reputation we’re working hard to change.”
Salt Lake City’s Mayor Erin Mendenhall came to Blouin’s aid tweeting that Barkley and Shaq clearly needed a local to show them around the city. She even offered the two to come back at any time and she would take them to Salt Lake’s “world-famous” restaurants, bars, and outdoor spaces she suggests they missed while here for the All-Star game.
“We’re far from perfect and I’m not shy to call that out,” continued Blouin. “but it’s ok to have a bit of pride in where you live sometimes. It’s healthy, in fact. I’m trying to make this place more hospitable and I hope you’ll help.”
This is not the first time NBA stars have called out Salt Lake City for its “lack of nightlife.” During the 2017 NBA playoffs, Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes (now retired) of the Golden State Warriors said Salt Lake City had no nightlife.
“The problem with Utah is you’re just sitting there and your mind is, like, dead…it can kind of lull you to sleep,” said Iguodala.
“You sit in your room. I think there’s an Olive Garden out there and then a Benihana,” commented Barnes.
The ordeal prompted the Utah Jazz to launch its successful “#Nightlife” campaign in response.