The NBA’s moratorium officially ended Saturday free agents could now sign with their new teams. There are many storylines and takeaways from this year's free agency period. Kawhi Leonard passed on the Lakers and decided to team up with Paul George and play for the Clippers. KD and Kyrie now call Brooklyn their home. Kemba is now a Celtic and Jimmy Butler took his talents to south beach.
One takeaway that stood out is how bitter and jealous a lot of former players are of this generation of NBA players. Charles Barkley is at the top of this list. Known as the “round mound of rebound” during his playing days Barkley has to turn into the “loud mouth from Leeds”. Spouting off opinions that are often viewed as honest, real, and straightforward, oftentimes lack depth, knowledge, and are just plain ignorant.
He has been particularly vocal about the player empowerment movement and players mainly superstars building super teams. Back in February Barkley had some strong views on player empowerment. Ben Golliver of the Chicago Tribune wrote an article detailing how Charles Barkley slams agents and players and predicts super-teams will lead to an NBA lockout. Barkley stated:
"I hear all these clowns on television talking about how it's great that all these players are exerting their power," Barkley told a small group of reporters at The Underground, a small music club. "Workers ain't never going to have power over their ownership. Ever. It might work for a couple of guys here or there, but in the history of the world, no workers have ever overtaken the people who own a business. When these guys are sitting home locked out in a couple of years, I want you to remember I told y'all that." Charles Barkley
His recent comments about this year's free agency were no different. Barkley had this to say when he appeared on ESPN'S First Take:
“sick of these guys stacking their teams," Barkley began. "I hate the super team... There's supposed to be competition. But these guys want to all go together...I hate that. I'm never going to accept that." Charles Barkley
Every person in this world has a right to their own opinion, but Barkley’s seemed to be fueled by bitterness and jealously. Barkley played in an era where players did not make anywhere near the money the players make now. Also, player movement was less common, and players plotting to play together was non-existent.
So it’s not hard to understand Barkley’s perspective. However, to say that a player or a person should not try to empower themselves is flat wrong. To say that those who own businesses have all the power and since they seem to have all the power a player should not do anything to change that is narrow-minded, and the mindset of a sheep. Sheep are followers by nature they go with the flow and are not leaders. That is probably why Barkley with all his talent never won a championship. He was not a leader, in fact, he lacked discipline and focus throughout his career.
It wasn’t until the 92-93 season that Barkley got into excellent shape. That season he won the MVP and made the NBA finals, but he was only in elite shape because he played in the Olympics as a member of the Dream Team. Not because he decided to dictate himself to an offseason of getting in shape.
One would think that a former player who is African-American would not only stand up an applaud these young African-American men for empowering themselves, but also show support every chance he got. Instead, he chooses to do the opposite making disparaging comments about today's players every chance he gets.
Every Thursday night on Inside the NBA a show that he has been a part of ever since he retired he routinely slams players for their decisions and their play. Barkley’s behavior reminds me of that crab in the barrel. He has a crab in the barrel mentality. Instead of helping one another get out the barrel you have that one crab trying to pull you back down.
He is not the only former player to despise the super team concept, but every time an opportunity presents itself to bash the concept and current players Barkley takes full advantage.
Bottom line super teams have always existed in the NBA, but nobody saw this as a problem. The reason why is it was seen as ok was that the owner, general manager, and president of basketball operations assembled these stacked rosters.
If players do the same thing it’s viewed as cheating and ruining competitive balance in the league? This kind of thinking does make sense and it lacks perspective. Nobody saw this as a bad thing until LeBron James went tv to announce that he was leaving Cleveland to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
This logic and argument do not make any sense. To win a championship at any level you must have talented players. High School may be the only level that one great player or two is enough to win a championship.
College an especially the NBA you need two great players sometimes three if you want to win a championship. There is only a hand full of teams that have won championships with one great player, or a team full of really good players.
Bill Russell Celtics of the 50s and 60s teams were a super team. The 72-73 championship Knicks team had Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and Willis Reed three Hall of Fame players on their team. Although they fell short of winning a championship Wilt Chamberlain demanded a trade to the Lakers to the play alongside Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. All three are not only Hall of Famers but all-time greats.
Before the Golden State Warriors, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were both apart of arguably two greatest super teams ever. Bird played with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Dennis Johnson was the Draymond Green of this team. He was a great defender and could plug in the gaps if they were missing something.
Magic had arguably the greatest player to ever play in Kareem Abdul- Jabber and James Worthy one of the best small forwards to ever play the game. No one dares call these teams super teams or tries to discredit the championships they won. Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, and nobody saw that as unfair even though they were the first team to win 70 games.
It wasn’t until players started to realize the power they possess, and actually start to use it that playing on a talented load roster became a problem. Charles Barkley needs to grow up and expand his mind. Stop being so negative and a hater to today’s players. Instead, he should embrace them, be a mentor to them, and impart the knowledge he has accumulated over all of these years he’s been a part of the game of basketball.
Do players always make the right decisions no, but they should definitely exercise their right to do so. I commend these players for realizing the fans pay to see them play. This gives the players leverage and power. I Salute the players that choose to exercise that power.
Barkley is an elder statesman of the game he should be actively supporting today’s player. Instead of being that old grumpy man who yells and complains every time the young kids from the neighborhood steps on his lawn.