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Charles Barkley has savage response to backlash over new NBA rule

Charles Barkley on the sideline

May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Charles Barkley prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s new load management rules have been under intense scrutiny of late. Hall of Famer Charles Barkley believes the current players brought this reality upon themselves.

The recent knee injury suffered by Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has placed the spotlight on the league’s new rules that aim to curb load management. Embiid was ridiculed by fans last week for suddenly sitting out a marquee matchup against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets without prior notice. The reigning league MVP returned two games later against the Golden State Warriors and suffered a significant knee injury in the contest.

The new rules set a minimum of 65 games played for a player to be eligible for any NBA season awards. Embiid, who can only afford to miss four more games to remain eligible for an honor such as MVP, will almost certainly miss the mark.

Barkley on Thursday appeared on “Inside the NBA” and decried the backlash from some fans and observers against the new rules. The 60-year-old pinned the blame on the players.

“These players got nobody to blame but themselves,” said Barkley. “The Players Association signed off on the deal. I thought it should’ve been 70 [games], honestly. … They didn’t respect the game and started resting and load managing — and the NBA had to do something.”

Despite Embiid’s injury, Barkley asserted that the new rule is “fair.”

Barkley sympathized with fans who save up for tickets only for their favorite star player to sit out when they finally watch a game live. He added that the tens of millions of dollars the top players earn annually should be more than enough compensation to suit up on a regular basis.

Embiid was having another MVP-caliber season before succumbing to his latest injury. The Sixers star averaged 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game on 53.3% shooting from the field through 34 games played.

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