Shaq’s Painted-On Abs Help Him Win Shirt-Off Contest With Charles Barkley (PHOTO, VIDEO)

There’s a lot to digest in that headline, so take a minute if you need to. Okay, ready to go?

For weeks now, TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show has been hyping a “shirt-off” content between analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Both are retired former NBA stars who are now a little on the pudgy side.

Last night, the two finally got down to business and stripped down. While Barkley looked about as you would expect him to–that is to say, doughy and gross–Shaq looked surprisingly ripped. At least, that is, until you took a closer look.

First, the video:

Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that something seemed to be a little off with Shaq’s abdominal muscles. Specifically, they looked completely fake. Analysis of the tape reveals that Shaq painted on his abs. Take a look for yourself (click to enlarge):

The big reveal happened after midnight EST last night, so maybe Shaq figured no one was watching and he could get away with it. Though a few of the other TNT panelists made vague accusations about makeup (which Shaq denied with a very implausible “I just got my tattoos covered up” excuse), the whole thing didn’t really go anywhere.

Nor should it have, since it doesn’t matter how retired NBA players look with their shirts off. So I think I’ll stop writing about it.

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