Charles Barkley questions Dwight Howard’s toughness; says he should have told Kobe Bryant to ‘shut the hell up’ (Audio)
If you want an honest opinion on any topic, just ask Charles Barkley. He may annoy people by being such a loudmouth, but Barkley’s lack of a filter when it comes to any subject makes him entertaining. Dwight Howard is his latest victim.
During an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, Barkley questioned Howard’s mental toughness in the wake of his shoulder injury.
“I’ve always been a big Dwight Howard fan,” Barkley said. “This year he’s disappointed me. Not from the fact that he hasn’t played well, but just how his mental toughness (has been). I’ve always thought he was a franchise player. I’m starting to wonder, because the one thing you have to do as a franchise player is you have to be tough. There’s an enormous amount of responsibility. You have to take all the good with the bad. You don’t get to whine and complain. You just have to go out there and take it.”
Howard is undoubtedly in a lot of pain while playing through a torn labrum, but complaining about opponents targeting his shoulder isn’t helping the public’s perception of him. The other thing that isn’t helping is his own teammates, namely Kobe Bryant, essentially telling reporters that Howard needs to suck it up.
“He should have already told Kobe Bryant to shut the hell up by now, or (tell him he’s going to) kick his ass” Barkley continued. “He should have done that by now because, as a man, there’s only so many times you can call me out publicly. If you keep calling me out publicly, I’ve got to come back at you at some point. I think (Kobe) has crossed the line somewhat lately. When you start questioning someone’s toughness, you’re crossing the line.
“At some point Dwight has to say, ‘Hey man, you need to shut the hell up and get off my back. It ain’t up to you. You ain’t my coach.”
I’m pretty sure Barkley means a teammate publicly questioning someone’s toughness crosses the line, because publicly questioning Howard’s toughness is exactly what he did during the interview. That being said, Sir Charles made some valid points. Howard already indicated that he wants Kobe to shut the hell up about his shoulder, although he put it in slightly nicer terms. At the end of the day, he’s a grown man. If he wants to tough it out and try to courageously lead the Lakers to the playoffs, he can do that. If he’d rather not take any chances and bolt via free agency in the offseason, that’s Howard’s prerogative as well.