A magical thing about the internet is that it is very easy to find archived articles from the past to find quotes, and that is something Charles Barkley should’ve maybe looked into before going on his latest rant about the current state of the NBA.
Barkley was asked about the Brooklyn Nets and their prospects of winning it all on a conference call for the American Century Championship golf tournament and said he’s rooting against the Nets this postseason before launching into a rant against guys teaming up to go win championships, via Sports Illustrated.
“KD is a great player, and I think he’s a great kid,” Barkley said on a conference call for this weekend’s American Century Championship golf tournament. “I don’t know him that well, but I’m not a fan of superteams. So listen, if they win it, they win it, but to be perfectly clear, I’m rooting against those guys. I root against all superteams.
“If I’d known you guys were going to make fun of me for not winning a championship, I would have joined a superteam back in my day—me and Patrick [Ewing] and Karl Malone and John Stockton. But I feel good about my legacy. I’m pretty sure Patrick and John and Karl do, too. LeBron [James] started this superteam thing [in Miami], and hey, it’s the way the game is played now.”
“To go back to my day, even though we didn’t win the championship, the Sixers were worth watching. The Knicks were worth watching. The Pacers were worth watching when Reggie was there, same thing with Atlanta and Dominique. I just don’t think it’s good for business, but these young kids, they all fold to peer pressure and feel like they’ve got to win a championship or their life sucks. I don’t believe that. Listen, there’s not many people I’d trade my life with.”
Barkley is far from the first former player to complain about super teams, but he also seems to be conveniently forgetting the time he forced his way onto a contender by threatening to retire if the Suns didn’t trade him to the Rockets in 1996 so he could play with two-time champs Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in order to finally win a championship. You can read all about it still, right here, including quotes like this:
Barkley said he was pleased with the way the deal had worked out.
“I’m excited because . . . I called the shots,” he said of the trade. “When push comes to shove, I think you have to stand up to the system.”
Those Rockets just weren’t able to ever fulfill on the promise of having that trio, despite a tremendous 96-97 season, and win a championship in their later years. This isn’t to say Barkley was wrong to have wanted to get to a contender in 1996, but to point out the selective memory he and others seem to have when it comes to taking issue with things current players do that they likewise did.
To act as though he wasn’t incredibly aware of how important winning a title was to his legacy when he was playing is ridiculous, as is the idea that players just now started wielding their power to get where they wanted to go. Players certainly have different avenues they can go to make that happen and more make such pushes sooner rather than later in their careers, but for Barkley to act as though trying to team up with other stars is something completely foreign to his generation of players is, to say the least, laughable.