After so many moments of hilarity, so many blooper videos, laughs and jokes, last May 8 the comedic ex-NBA player, TNT analyst trio of Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley was finally forced to dish out praise.

The subject: Nuggets center JaVale McGee.

"This is the first time I've seen a 7-footer beat the Lakers' big men, (Pau) Gasol and (Andrew) Bynum, down the court," Smith said. "That doesn't happen in another series."

Barkley: "He's like Dwight Howard. They are the only two 7-foot guys who can jump like that."

That was after Game 5 of the Nuggets' first-round playoff series against the Lakers last spring when, in a sea of dunks, McGee torched Los Angeles for 21 points and 14 rebounds in a Denver victory seen nationwide. On that night, it was if he had arrived, finally free of a bad situation in Washington and ready to grow into the star talent so many think he can be.

Fast forward to now, when McGee stands as the Nuggets' tallest enigma. He has a 7-foot, 6½-inch wingspan and a 31½-inch vertical leap. He is a highlight reel waiting to happen — and that means both the "SportsCenter" top-10 plays and TNT's "Shaqtin' a Fool."