Charles Barkley On The Likely NBA Lockout: “I would Be Surprised If We Play Basketball Next Year.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre looks on during the NFC Championship football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

You can watch and listen to the regurgitated highlight reels over-and-over again in the days to come. You know, the one’s of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra saying the criticism levied at LeBron James is unfair;  or Udonis Haslem’s post-game comments after game six where he basically states that no matter how much criticism LeBron receives, none of it matters because James is still the best player in basketball. The fact of the matter is that the ‘The Decision’ has been beaten to a pulp here and by every other sports media outlet out there. It does not however change the fact that the self proclaimed King should have known better than to continually blame everyone else for his and the Heat’s shortcomings in the NBA Finals. And sorry LeBron, claiming God just wasn’t ready for him to win yet didn’t win too many over in the court of public opinion either. There’s no doubt LeBron’s God-given talents will provide him with future opportunities to return to the NBA Finals, and odds are he’ll eventually win it all with the talented but still incomplete Heat team in future years.  This was only year one in Miami after all.

Of course, everybody’s got an opinion on LeBron, but who better to turn to for analysis and commentary than the great Charles Barkley?  In this edition Barkley sure didn’t disappoint once again. Let’s just say Barkley feels bad for LeBron because he’s a good person, but was very frank about the mistakes the young man has made over the last year ranging from the ‘The Decision’ all the way to his Twitter comments made after the Heat were eliminated in Game 6 Sunday night. He also made sure to sprinkle some advice based on personal experience along the way. Charles Barkley joined WIP in Philadelphia with Howard Eskin and Ike Reese to discuss LeBron James’s post-game comments made after losing Game 6 to the Dallas Mavericks, his post-game comments demeaning NBA fans, whether he perceives Dwyane Wade and LeBron James as whiners, his reaction to LeBron James’s tweet claiming God must not think it’s the right time for him to win a title, LeBron James perhaps not being the superstar the media portrayed him to be over the last few years, and the NBA being on a fast track to a lockout in the very near future.

The same problems you had yesterday you got those same problems today, but there is a guy that played for the Heat [LeBron James] that’s going to continue to live the way he wants to live and do the things he wants to do?

“I do feel bad. I tell you LeBron is a good guy who said some stupid stuff. He is a good dude and he is going to get crucified. He deserves some of it. He does deserve some of it, but I do feel bad because he is going to get crucified. He’s a good dude who says stupid things sometimes. He shouldn’t have said to the public.”

That’s the problem. His comments demean 99 % of his fans that don’t have the kind of money that he has?

“Listen, LeBron is a really good dude who has not made a bunch of very good of statements in the last year. The thing that has really bothered me about this team is they would never admit they made any mistakes. Dwyane [Wade] is a great guy and LeBron [James] is a great guy, but they actually don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. That’s what makes me laugh about this whole scenario.”

Did you see them [Dwyane Wade and LeBron James] as whiners pertaining to every time they get touched by a defender they were looking for a foul?

“My thing is anybody who don’t say 100 percent of things positive about them is a LeBron or a Heat hater. Like when we criticized ‘The Decision.’ Oh y’all just haters and we all came on stage dancing which I’m like ‘That’s just stupid.’ Then when you get on their and say ‘We are going to win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, seven championships.’ I’m like ‘Dude relax. Calm down. Win one first.’ That was unnecessary then during the season when they were struggling they’d get on TV and say ‘Well I guess the world is happy now the Heat are losing.’ I’m like ‘Dude don’t flatter yourself. Nobody is thinking about y’all.’ “

I can’t let you go before reading the wonderful tweet. Here’s the tweet by LeBron James: “The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time.” Why does he have to write that?

“God is a Dallas Mavericks fan! Howard [Eskin] I hate that. I hate that more than anything in the world because the notion that God has a favorite team. I think that is one of the most…I hate when guys say that. You thank the Lord for having great health, but the notion that the Lord likes one team better than the other.  I hate when guys say that. That’s just stupid. [Howard Eskin: Isn’t that another way to not take responsibility?] Yeah no question. I wish LeBron…I wish he would say ‘Hey you know what congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks. They played fantastic. Congratulations. We had a good season, but we got to get better and I got to play better.’ That would have been the perfect tweet. You congratulate the Mavs and you say ‘You know what? We had a good season.

We had a good season, not a great season, but I’ve got to get better.’ I was doing an interview earlier today and the guy said ‘What would you tell LeBron James?’ I said tell him to get his ass down in the post and learn to post up because right now I’m not even sure what position he plays. Let’s take away all this noise going on. As a basketball player I’m like for a guy that big and that strong to be standing out there and jacking up jumpers all night. It’s like ‘Dude take your big strong ass down on the box and post up!’ He would get ‘X’ amount of points on the fast break finishing, but he’s got to learn how to post up. He’s a big ole’ strong boy like every time he shoots a jumper the defense is like ‘Thank you lord. Thank you for making him shoot a jumper because I don’t want that big coming at me full speed.’ “

I just never thought he was the star the media portrayed him to be?

“But you know what he did that to himself. Calling himself ‘The King.’ Talking about he was going to be a global icon. LeBron has to take some responsibility now. I mean you give yourself the nickname ‘The King’ and you talk about how you want to be a global icon and you do that silly ‘Decision Thing.’ I had a couple of problems with that ‘Decision Thing.’ Number one he shouldn’t have did it, but also thought he should have called the Cleveland Cavaliers in advance and said ‘Hey you know what I’m going to Miami.’ That would have been the proper thing to do. Like I said if he just said ‘Hey you know what I’m from Akron. Cleveland is my home. The people have treated me great, but I want to go a place where I can win multiple championships.’ This whole thing could have been avoided to be honest with you. If he just said ‘Let me just chill out a little bit.’ But again let me tell you this quick little story. See my brother wanted to work for me. I said ‘You are not going to work for me. A young kid can’t work for me. A young kid don’t understand what goes on in my life in dealing with these billionaires every day whether it’s NIKE or the 76ers or the Rockets.’

I don’t want a 25-26 year old kid in the room with me. I thought LeBron’s biggest mistake he ever made was hiring all of his homeboys. What I mean by that is you should always have some old people around you. You should always have some older people around you. Are his home boys good guys? I think they are good guys. Are they nice guys? Yeah I think they are nice guys, but they still 26. They still 26. You ain’t experience nothing in our life at 26 to make you make adult decisions that somebody who is 35…That is one thing I’ve always tell you. The greatest thing ever to happen to me was Doctor J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Clemon Johnson and Bobby Jones. They taught me more about life than they did about basketball. I wish LeBron would get some older people around him to say ‘Hey dude let’s think about this Decision thing you are going to do.’ Of course his homeboys are like ‘Yeah dude it’s going to be great. You are going to be the center of attention and everybody is going to be watching.’ I’m like maybe we should call the Cavaliers in advance. Some stuff like that I wish he would get some older people around him.”

When is the next time will see a basketball game in the NBA considering the lockout situation coming up?

“Bro these owners in your sport and in my sport, they are drawing a line in the sand to be honest with you. It’s going to get ugly. I feel bad because we are coming off a great year for the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks are a feel good story. If you can’t be happy for Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki there is something wrong with you and that ain’t got nothing to do with hating on the Heat. You should be happy for Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, but in both of these sports and it’s just my opinion now. These owners are batting down the hatches and they are going for it. I’m going to be honest with you…I would be surprised if we played basketball next year. I think this is just me now. I don’t have no inside info. I think what’s going to happen is once we start missing games and it starts creeping. I think they are going to say ‘You know what let’s don’t play this year.’ That’s just my personal opinion because I think last time [1999] it was so negative when we played 40-50 games. I think the reaction was so negative. Some people said the Spurs really didn’t win a championship that year because it didn’t count. I think once the NBA get locked out and everything gets started. I’m hoping we don’t miss any games. I got great respect for David Stern. I think he is the best commissioner in sports. I truly believe these owners in both sports that they at a point now where they are going to try to break these unions I truly believe that.”

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