Charles Barkley isn’t afraid to share his opinion. Wednesday, he took aim at the NBA and its players for being too soft.
Speaking at Southern Methodist University on Wednesday, Charles Barkley ripped into the modern NBA—both the league and players—saying he was angry at both.
He sarcastically “commended” the NBA for moving up the regular season schedule in an attempt to reduce the number of back-to-back games that teams have to play.
“You know, these poor babies can’t play back-to-back games. They’re making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a year. But we want to make it convenient for them. … We can’t stress ’em out. So we’re just going to make it more comfortable for them. The private jets and four-star hotels is not enough,” Barkley said as the sarcasm dripped off the microphones in front of him.
He isn’t wrong, noting that back in his day, teams flew commercially and played back-to-back games all the time—and that they had it better than their predecessors.
“I’ve sat with older guys who took trains and played three days in a row,” he continued. “I think it’s a joke and travesty that these guys won’t play back-to-back games with all the private jets and stuff that they get. The NBA caved in, instead of making them play back-to-back games. … I think it’s a joke.”
But Barkley isn’t laughing.
“I am so angry — angry — at the NBA for telling these guys, ‘Wait a minute, we’re paying you guys 30, 40 million dollars and you can’t play basketball two days in a row?’ I think it’s a travesty that the NBA didn’t just tell these guys to play basketball two days in a row. Moving the season up, it’s just a joke to me.”
Ultimately, Barkley believes that today’s players are disrespecting the fans and taking their blessings for granted.
“I never came close to making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a year. No. 1, God bless them, but I would feel an obligation if I was making that type of money,” he said. “I would [be] like, ‘This dude is paying me $40 million. I’m gonna play two games in a row.’ I played two games in a row and flew commercial. I played four games in five days and flew commercial.”