Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley Calls Bryant Gumbel’s Comments “Stupid”

In the midst of an NBA lockout a number of different people have chimed in with their thoughts on what is going on between the players and the owners. Former players have voiced their opinion, current players have, and a number of TV and radio personalities have as well. Bryant Gumbel is one of the more opinionated TV personalities in the world of sports and he let his feelings be known on his show the other night. Gumbel said that Stern appeared to want the image of “some kind of plantation overseer.” There are some things that everyone would be wise to avoid saying and what Gumbel said should be avoided in any context. Charles Barkley joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about Bryant Gumbel’s comments, whether or not he thinks Commissioner Stern is talking down to people, what he makes of Billy Hunter and the job he is doing in negotiations, and what he would do if he was Kobe Bryant.

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On Bryant Gumbel’s comments:

“I thought they were stupid. First of all it’s disrespectful to black people that went through slavery while guys are averaging five million dollars a year, that’s just disrespectful. When David Stern took over, I went and did my research because I knew people would make a big deal out of it, when Davis Stern took over the NBA in 1984 which was my first year the average salary was 315,000 dollars. That was the average salary. The average salary now is 5.15 million dollars. When has he been holding people back from making money? Secondly David Stern works for the owners and his job is to make sure the owners have a fair deal. I like Bryant and I like that show a lot but the commissioner works for the owners. He’s just trying to get a fair deal for the owners. It’s disrespectful to black people. I don’t think slaves are making 5.1 million dollars a year.”

Whether or not he feels David Stern is talking down people:

“Dan he represents the owners. I’ve listened to all the press conferences and all the B.S. so let’s get that straight. I don’t think anybody is talking down to anybody. I think they’re trying to get a deal done for the owners.”

What he makes of Billy Hunter and the job he is doing in negotiations:

“I think in fairness to Billy Hunter and I like Billy Hunter and I think David Stern is a great commissioner, I think Billy is always in an awkward situation. I’ve been in those meetings before. It’s not a fair fight for Billy Hunter and what I mean by that is he’s got all the stars who are making all the money in one ear who is the face of the league and in his other ear he’s got all the other guys who are making a decent living but they’re in the room and they’re not really in the conversation. The Players Union in any sport realistically their job unfortunately is to take care of the face of the league and that is the stars. Billy Hunter is always in a room with LeBron (James), Dwyane (Wade), and those guys that make 20 million a year. Let’s go back to the barnstorming tour, the guys who are making 20 million dollars a year are like let’s go play some exhibition games and make another couple million dollars. Billy is always at a disadvantage.”

If he thinks Kobe Bryant should go play overseas:

“Well Kobe’s got 83 million dollars coming the next three years, he’s gonna make 27 million dollars a year the next three years and I think he has to be very careful. He’s an older player and if one of these guys were to get hurt and blow out their contract they’re going to look like the biggest idiot in the world. Kobe Bryant has been the face of the NBA for the last ten or 15 years. He’s gonna make 83 million dollars the next three years. He’s got too much at stake. He’s already won five championships and he’s got nothing to prove travelling the country and playing in pickup games. It doesn’t make sense for him to do that. He’s gonna make 27 million dollars the next three years. I know some guys are trying to make some money, businesspeople, but these guys have a lot of stake. LeBron has a big contract, Dwyane has a big contract and these guys have to be very careful. You can be sure if one of them blows out an Achilles or a knee the NBA is gonna blow out their contract like they were in the NFL, quickly.”

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