Charles Barkley Needs to Think Before He Speaks

By Sam Stack, Print Editor-in-Chief

// The NBA on TNT features great basketball on a weekly basis but it also has an Emmy award winning show that comes with it, Inside the NBA. The show features some of the NBA’s best personalities like Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. Unfortunately, it also features Charles Barkley, an NBA great who at times is very funny but more frequently runs his mouth way too far.

   Barkley will say incredibly absurd and very illogical things that tend to stir up discussion and bring unwanted news to the network. Everything he says runs in a weekly cycle. It starts out with his comment which will usually rile up his co-anchors into debate. That comment will then run through headlines. After that, his comment will be destroyed by whatever athlete, team, or coach he criticized. And then the cycle starts again.

   Frankly, Barkley needs to stop. He’s infuriating fans on a weekly basis and is creating more enemies than friends. He was once a well known, respected player who is now just a grouchy ex-NBA player who is upset he never won a ring.

   It started back during the 2014-15 when Barkley was so adamant in saying a shooting team could not win an NBA championship. He was directly attacking the Warriors. All season long he would say it, until the Warriors won the NBA Championship. He didn’t even give the Warriors a lot of credit also, saying it wasn’t a legitimate win.

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(Cartoon by Evan Bosshart)

   Barkley got back at it recently when he said the NBA is the worst it’s ever been, saying, “We got one or two, three or four good teams, and the rest of the teams stink.” I couldn’t disagree more with what he thinks. The NBA has always been dominated by about four good teams.

   Since 1999, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs have dominated the league. That is, at least one of these three players have been in the finals, other than 2006. From 1999 to 2010 either the San Antonio Spurs or Lakers were in the finals representing the Western Conference except for when the Dallas Mavericks made it one year. That sounds like one or two really good teams to me.

   It was the same in the 1990’s too. Michael Jordan ran the show during that decade, winning six championships. During the brief two year time period when Jordan played baseball, the Houston Rockets won back to back.

   The 1980’s were also controlled by a few teams. The Showtime Lakers of the 80’s made it to the finals eight of ten years and faced only three different opponents.

   Not to mention in the 60’s, the Boston Celtics led by Bill Russell won nine championships including winning seven in a row.

   This isn’t the only time that the NBA has had a couple really good teams because the NBA has always been led by a couple teams.

   These are not the only comments that have sparked headlines and conflict. Recently, NBA star LeBron James was outspoken about how he believed his team needed to acquire a playmaker in order to fix some weaknesses on the Cavaliers roster.

   James’ comments prompted Barkley to criticize James.

    “Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above. The Cleveland Cavaliers have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted Iman Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s LeBron, the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs,” Barkley said.

   James responded only a couple days after that in an interview with

   “He’s a hater. What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV? I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying. All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that,” James said.

   I usually never side with LeBron but this is a very agreeable point made by James. Barkley tried to put his comments into context by saying LeBron is the defending NBA champion and doesn’t need help, but what Barkley fails to realize is that it’s a new season. The Cavaliers won the championship in June 2016 and now it’s February 2017.

   The roster is different than it was in June. J.R. Smith, a key scorer, is out with a thumb injury. Matthew Dellavedova who was a great backup point guard is on another team also. So the team is lacking some firepower.

   The Cavaliers were also coming off the worst month since LeBron returned to Cleveland, so there was also obvious problems that needed fixing.

   But it’s fine that Barkley doesn’t understand. He’s never won a ring, so it’s easy to why he doesn’t grasp the concept of knowing what it takes to get there.

   Draymond Green, a well known rival of James, has even come to James’ side, telling James to “destroy” Barkley. Once there are rivals banding together against comments made, that’s a point can be made that they were not the right comments to make.

   Barkley should not call out champions on how to act since he has no experience of being one. That’s why actual NBA champions are on that panel, let them give the criticism.

   However, Barkley has been outspoken for so long and if there’s one thing I respect about him, it’s that he stands by his comments. Even if they are completely idiotic.

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