After a pair of early blowouts, Team USA has found it much tougher with a trio of tight wins. The inevitable questions have started, and Charles Barkley thinks the issue is inherent in the roster.
Barkley told Sports360AZ.com that the Americans play too much isolation.
“It’s not a good team to put together,” Barkley said, via ESPN. “If you take away DeAndre Jordan, every guy on that team is a ball-dominant guy. You see them playing a lot of one-on-one basketball.
“That’s the thing I’ve noticed more than anything. Like, you have to understand when you put a team together like that, you have to have some role players.”
Barkley thinks the team has too many players who want to shoot.
“You take a guy like Kyle Lowry, who is a hell of a player, he wants to score. Kyrie [Irving] wants to score. Kevin [Durant] wants to score. DeMar [DeRozan] wants to score. So, I think they have been really stagnant offensively.
“When they put that team together in the future, they have to realize we can’t have just really, really great offensive players. They gotta have players that if they don’t get a shot, they’re not just gonna stand around and mope.”
At least one of Team USA’s players has diagnosed some of the problems. We’ll see if they have an easier time with Argentina on Wednesday.
Much has been made of the renowned 1992 United States men’s basketball team (a.k.a “The Dream Team”) that won gold at the Barcelona Olympics. But what about the significantly less celebrated second Dream Team that also took home Olympic gold in Atlanta four years later? To Charles Barkley, who was a part of both rosters, it’s absolutely no comparison.
In an interview with Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report on Tuesday, Barkley spoke critically of his time with Dream Team II.
“The first Dream Team was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Barkley. “The second Dream Team was one of the worst experiences of my life. [In ’92,] for a couple of months, we got along like it was the greatest thing. In ’96, guys started complaining about playing time; guys were, like, ‘Well, I should be starting,’ and I was, like, ‘Wait a minute. You all ain’t even that good compared to the team I used to be on.’
“We had a couple guys—I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus—who skipped practice because they didn’t start or weren’t getting enough practice time,” Barkley continued. “It was not a lot of fun hearing guys bitch all the time about who was starting.”
By 1996, gone were the legendary leaders from the original Dream Team such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. In their place entered then-unproven youngsters like Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill as well as strong, abrasive personalities like Gary Payton and Reggie Miller.
Dream Team II still went largely unchallenged on their way to gold in Atlanta (with an average margin of victory of 33.0 points per game). But nevertheless, it just goes to show the precarious balancing act of managing superstar egos in Olympic play, as well as how special the first Dream Team, arguably the greatest collection of basketball talent ever assembled, truly was.
- Charles Barkley
Former NBA point guard Jason Williams had some very strong thoughts about Charles Barkley in a recent interview.
Williams spoke to Mike Ortiz Jr. of DYST Now and was asked if he would have gone to the Golden State Warriors had he been in Kevin Durant’s shoes.
“Ah man, you can’t put me on Kevin Durant’s level first and foremost,” Williams said. “If I was Kevin Durant and that’s what I wanted to do, then that’s what I would’ve done. I wouldn’t have made a decision based on anybody else. Because it seems like he’s done that for 8 or 9 years now. You know you’ve gotta take care of yourself and make yourself happy at the end of the day. I mean all these guys, [Charles] Barkley and them talking about, oh they wouldn’t have done it, well they was never free agents back in the day — like they didn’t have the choice. Nobody wanted his ass on their team because he was a loser. So that’s what I think about that.”
Barkley, of course, had some sharp criticism for Durant, which he had to defend himself against. Funnily enough, another former NBA player with a very similar name might agree that Barkley qualifies as a loser.
If you believe Jayson Williams, Charles Barkley spent more time eating junk food than he did practicing during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Williams, who spent the first two years of his career with Barkley in Philly, recently told a hilarious story about Barkley while appearing on VICE Sports’ “Cookies” podcast. By Williams’ count, Barkley actually practiced roughly three times total during the two years the pair were teammates. On one particular day, Williams recalls Barkley stuffing his face with McDonald’s breakfast while yelling at other people to run harder.
“I’ll never forget this story. My second day of practice we’re out there running up and down. Charles Barkley comes in about 5-minutes late,” Williams said, as transcribed by Stephen Douglas of The Big Lead. “He comes in and he has a big McDonald’s bag. And he goes and he sits down on the bike. And like a chemist. You know a guy over there cutting up lines or something. You know? He’s just making – he’s got his back towards us and he’s doing stuff – I’m like what the hell is he doing? So he takes the eggs, and he takes the pancakes, the sausage, maple syrup and butter, puts it all in one, wraps it up with the pancake and gets some extra syrup. And the butter’s oozing out. And I’m going wow, you going to eat that then and come run with us?
“Hell no. He’s going to eat that while he’s on the stationary bike. Peddling one mile an hour going, ‘You sons of bitches! Run the floor! You lazy bastards! You f—ers! That’s why we ain’t never going to win the game!’ And pancake is spitting out his mouth.”
Williams claims that type of behavior was common from Sir Charles. In fact, he says Barkley was the “worst person to play with as a rookie” because he was a horrible influence and got people to stay out all night partying with him. He also said something that will likely irritate Barkley.
“You knew he wasn’t going to win the championship,” Williams said.
Interestingly enough, Barkley once admitted that he tried to discourage the Sixers from drafting him by going on an eating binge, the alarming details of which you can read here. It sounds like he was still working at that goal years after arriving in Philly.
You couldn’t pay Charles Barkley enough money to start using Twitter — literally.
In an appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show” this week, Barkley shared some of his thoughts on social media. As you might expect, he hates the idea. The surprising part is that Sir Charles hates it so much he supposedly turned down $3 million.
“I’ve been offered as much as $3 million to do tweets,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘Y’all can’t pay me enough money to tweet.’ I’ve been offered millions of dollars to do talk radio and I said, ‘Y’all can’t pay me enough to talk to these fools.’ I will never tweet, I will never do Instagram or any type of social media.
“There are some evil people who sit behind a computer and feel like they can say anything to anybody. The media has given them that type of power.”
Here’s the audio of Barkley making his comments:
Ironically, Barkley used examples of “fools” sharing their opinions on what guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant do with their lives. Given what Barkley said about Durant signing with the Warriors, that seems a bit hypocritical.
Imagine the buzz Barkley could create if he actually did start tweeting? That would be awesome.
- Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley’s recent criticism of Kevin Durant unintentionally shed some light on Barkley’s later playing career and subjected him to a lot of accusations of hypocrisy. Now, Barkley is fighting back against that narrative, or at least trying to.
Barkley called out Durant for trying to “cheat his way to a championship” after the superstar signed with the Golden State Warriors. Many people pointed out that Barkley forced a trade to Houston late in his career to play with the Rockets, who were two-time NBA champions at the time and had Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler on their roster.
Barkley appeared on CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Show to attempt to set the record straight on that.
“I got traded to Houston,” Barkley asserted, via Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk. “I didn’t get asked to go to Houston. First of all, I never asked to go to Houston. So, that notion — I’ve heard that several times, that I was chasing a ring. I never chased a ring. I got out of Philly, because they were a bad organization. They traded the No. 1 pick in the draft, Brad Daugherty. So, I got traded to Phoenix. That was the only time I demanded a trade and wasn’t going to play anymore.
“But the Suns traded me to Houston. I wasn’t chasing a ring. I’ve never felt like a ring was — this ain’t like the mafia or Jerry Maguire where this thing completes. I was a heck of a player. I didn’t win it. I’m cool with that. I never played on the best team. But this notion that I chased a ring in Houston — they traded me to Houston. I never said let me go play with old Clyde, old Hakeem and old Charles Barkley. So, that’s actually 100 percent not true.”
Let’s remind you, however, of what Barkley said in 1996 at the time of his trade to Houston.
“I called the shots,” Barkley said at the time. “When push comes to shove, I think you have to stand up to the system.”
Barkley also called Houston “my first priority” and said that the trade gave him “a great shot at a championship.”
Barkley was either not telling the truth then or is fudging the truth now. My bet is on the latter. He’s probably aware that his criticisms sounded to many like sour grapes because he never won a ring, and now he’s trying to play damage control. Barkley might as well tell the truth – as LB explained, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself in the best position possible to win a championship.
Many people have criticized Kevin Durant for taking the easy way out by joining an already championship-caliber Golden State Warriors team. Charles Barkley feels what Durant has done goes beyond that.
During an appearance on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on Wednesday, Barkley said Durant’s decision to sign with the Warriors as a free agent is basically cheating.
"Kevin Durant is trying to cheat his way into a championship."
– Charles Barkley pic.twitter.com/vf6hUC1TI6
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) July 6, 2016
Since we really don’t need to get into why Durant signing with Golden State is in no way cheating, let’s instead examine how hypocritical of a statement that is coming from Barkley.
In August of 1996, Barkley was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Houston Rockets. While you might think a trade is out of a player’s control, Barkley openly admitted at the time that he forced his way to Houston, noting that he “called the shots” and threatened to retire if the Suns didn’t send him where he wanted to go.
Of course, the Rockets had won NBA titles in 1994 and 1995. So what was Barkley doing by forcing his way to Houston late in his career? He explained it very clearly at the time.
“At this stage of my career, I’m not a great player. I’m a good player,” Barkley said after the trade in 1996. “But with Hakeem (Olajuwon) and Clyde (Drexler), I have a great shot at a championship.”
Barkley still never won a ring, and that is how many people define his career. As our man LB explained in his rant defending Durant (video here), our glorification of winning championships at all costs is the reason K.D. felt he had to leave Oklahoma City. What Durant is doing is no different from what Barkley did 20 years ago. Perhaps Sir Charles is jealous that K.D. still has a shot at being crowned a champion.