Recently, TNT “Inside the NBA” commentator and Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley sat down with Maxim.com to discuss the state of the NBA today, and compare it with his era in the mid-80s to the late 90s. Chuck didn’t hold back, as is his custom, and described today’s teams as “girly” in comparison to today’s squads.
Before Chuck sounded off on today’s best teams, he answered a couple questions about playing against Shaquille O’Neal, and working with him inside the TNT studios:
Maxim: So is Inside the NBA as fun as it looks?
Barkley: We’re having more fun than that! I always tell people I wish we could put the behind-the-scenes stuff on the air, but we’d probably get arrested. Last year Shaq was always tackling everybody. I tried to tackle him back, but I couldn’t knock his big ass down.
Maxim: Well, he’s a pretty big guy.
Barkley: Shaq is the only guy I played against where I said, “Man, that’s a big fucking dude.” Before his last season, Kevin McHale was talking to Robert Parish and said, “Chief, do you see that guy? I think it’s time for us to think about retiring.” In person Shaq’s the biggest guy in the world, man. He’s huge.
Who can forget the Round Mound of Rebound’s rumble with Shaq where the Big Aristotle almost killed Barkley with a left hook that very nearly crushed his face:
Charles also discussed today’s stars, and the best team’s in the league today:
Maxim: How do you think your teams in the ’80s and ’90s would fare today?
Barkley: We’d kill these little girly teams they’ve got today. Come on. The Miami Heat, the best team today, they make Roy Hibbert look like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Maxim: When LeBron, Melo, D-Wade, and Bosh were all on the court together in the playoffs, people said the ’03 draft was the best ever. How do you compare it to yours in ’84?
Barkley: I like our draft class better, to be honest. No disrespect to those guys; they’re all terrific players. They have LeBron, who is a once-in-a-lifetime player, but we had Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton. But any discussion about this stuff is dictated by LeBron James, because he’s just special.
Maxim: Do you think he could go down as the best ever? [Michael] Jordan says he would have taken LeBron one-on-one.
Barkley: I haven’t put LeBron past Kobe Bryant yet. He’s won a couple of rings, and now everybody is trying to compare him to Michael, who won six. What happened to Kobe? Kobe’s still got five. LeBron has to win three more championships before he’s in the Kobe Bryant class.
So, not only is Chuck less-than-impressed with today’s best teams, but LeBron James is a special player; although, he has a long way to go before Chuck will even compare him with Kobe Bryant. For the man without a ring, that’s a very narrow purview for all-time greatness. But it’s Chuck we’re talking about here, so we understand.
What do you think?
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