CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Charles Barkley has had it with NBA teams resting star players.
In another epic rant, this time on the Rich Eisen Show on Monday, Barkley called for fans to boycott the NBA, albeit temporarily, to send a message that it’s not OK to allow healthy players to sit out games.
“I’ve been in the NBA for over 30 years and all of the sudden now with better shoes, private jets, all this stuff they got, now all of the sudden they worried about getting hurt,” Barkley told Eisen. “I think it’s a joke, especially when you’re screwing your TV partners. Just for the record, we’re the reason they make $10, 20, 30 million – TV. No disrespect to the fans, but the reason players make $10, 20, 30 million is because of the TV partners – ESPN and us at Turner – and all of the sudden I don’t know where this thing comes from that they got to rest and you have all these idiots that say, ‘Well we have stats that show if you play back-to-back’ and I’m like, ‘Yo man, Bill Russell played in Converse. He had a long career. Tim Duncan, the greatest power forward ever, played 20 years basically and he went to college for 4 years. You look at Michael [Jordan] he went to college for 3 years, he never got hurt.’
Barkley wasn’t done.
“Man, these guys, they just care about money nowdays,” Barkley continued. “What I think needs to happen, I think the fans need to boycott games and boycott television to send these guys a message, because people always understand money. And I’m really sick of all these punk-ass reporters – and that’s all they are – they kiss up to this young generation, ‘Well these guys need rest.’ First of all, we’ve always needed rest but when you’re making millions of dollars to dribble a basketball, and listen, I’m so old I flew coach and played back-to-back games. These guys are flying private getting a great night’s sleeps, getting a great meal and they’re making $20, 30 million and they can’t play a couple basketball games?
“This is ridiculous, man. Listen, I hope at some point the fans get together and say, ‘You know what we’re gonna do? We’re not gonna go to any games for a week and we’re not gonna watch any games on television for a week. I think if the fans hit back, it’d be great.”
The issue of resting players arose Saturday night when the Cavs elected to rest LeBron James with Kyrie Irving out with a sore left knee and Kevin Love also benched as part of his scheduled playing time returning from knee surgery on Feb. 14.
Because the game was broadcast nationally on ABC, Cavs GM David Griffin received a call from the league office. The previous Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors rested Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
“Did Michael Jordan miss games? Did Larry Bird, Magic? Did those guys miss games,” Barkley said. “I think they all played in college longer, No. 1 but also played double-digit years in the NBA. So, why all of the sudden when they start making money they want to extend their career? Because they want to make more money. Call it what it is, man. Don’t give these fools no alibis.
“This is all because their agents want to extend their careers because there’s so much money out there. But the other point is, you keep screwing your TV partners [but] why should we keep giving you all that money if y’all are gonna rest half the time?”
The NBA is paid nearly $2.4 billion annually in broadcast rights under new agreements signed in 2014.
It also should be noted that, including playoffs, James has already played 5,000 more minutes than Barkley did in his entire 16-year career.