Charles Barkley was – very literally – player-hating on NBA players and the league for their decision to reduce the amount of back-to-back games in the 2017-2018 season.
Barkley, who spoke at Southern Methodist University on Wednesday, is often critical of today’s NBA, but was especially “angry” about the “travesty” of eliminating a few consecutive games so the players could be better rested.
He didn’t hold back when discussing the upcoming season’s schedule change.
“You know, these poor babies can’t play back-to-back games,” Barkley said. “They’re making $20, $30, $40 million a year. But we want to make it convenient for them. They’re making $40 million making a year, 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 aren’t enough,” he added in a sarcastic tone.
In his rant, Barkley repeatedly complained about today’s NBA salaries and how he believes the players are being babied, and that the adjusted schedule is “a joke,” and that the NBA “caved in” giving the players a little extra rest time.
“It’s just sad because you’re just disrespecting the fans,” he continued. “You know they’re only going to get to see you one time a year in some of these situations and you would think a guy was like, ‘you know, they’re only going to see me one time a year, I’m going to play in that city.’
“The notion that the commissioner has to come in and talk about it, but also extend the season is just ridiculous. Flat-out ridiculous.”
The new schedule means teams will no longer have any stretches of four games in five nights or 18 games in 30 days, and single-game road trips and backs-to-backs will be reduced. There will be only 11 games total for which a team travels more than 2,000 miles for a single road game in 2017-2018, per ESPN.
The schedule move is designed to prevent teams from resting star players, a tactic that commissioner Adam Silver is not happy with.
Last year Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors boss Steve Kerr made headlines for resting marquee players in national TV matchups.