The release of NBA 2K18’s all-time teams has produced quite a bit of reaction. Some of the omissions from the league’s 30 teams are fairly egregious, and the absence of Charles Barkley from both the all-time 76ers and Suns teams drew the ire of many this week.
With that said, Barkley has been on the record before that his likeness isn’t available unless the game provides funding for retired players. This time around, though, the Hall of Fame forward opened up on his thinking with more detail in speaking to Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM in Phoenix.
“What I’ve told them is, I don’t think we, as players, have ever done enough for the old veteran guys. I said if you’re going to use my likeness, you’re going to have to donate some money to the retired players’ association.”
“I don’t want a dime. I’ve been blessed to make a lot of money but the guys before us didn’t make a lot of money. We’ve got a lot of guys who are struggling financially and struggling physically and what I’ve said is ‘you guys can’t use my likeness unless you give some money to the retired players.’”
Barkley wasn’t done there, even proposing an easy (albeit expensive) solution for games like NBA 2K18 if they want to avoid this issue in the future with players of Barkley’s ilk.
“What I think would be fair is, if they gave a million dollars — and I’d even let them keep the tax write-off — if they gave a million dollars a year to the retired players association that went to a good cause — health plans or something like that or just gave them money to help them get on their feet, I’d let them use my likeness in a heartbeat.
If nothing else, “Sir Charles” provided some real clarity on his position that may not have been in the public consciousness before. It remains to be seen as to whether Barkley’s comments will actually change the way video games approach this issue, but he doesn’t appear ready to budge anytime soon, and it is admirable that it has nothing to do with padding his own wallet.