NBA Q&A: Charles Barkley

Posted by Unknown on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 with No comments
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated Where should we place LeBron James right now in a historical context? Is he a top 10 all-time guy right now on your list?

Barkley: I have him there. But he can't get any higher than where he is. I have Michael [Jordan] at No. 1. Oscar [Robertson] at No. 2. Then Wilt [Chamberlain], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and [Bill] Russell. I have Kobe [Bryant], LeBron, Tim Duncan, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor after that. Those are my top 10. Those second five fluctuate, but who do I take off my top five? LeBron can get to No. 6 on my list, but here's the thing that bothers me about the whole LeBron debate: I want to know why y'all killed Kobe Bryant! Y'all don't even compare him to LeBron anymore. You are skipping him for LeBron and going right to Michael. I'm still going to take five [titles] over two. It makes me laugh with my friends -- the media just kills Kobe Bryant. Like he's dead! Five still is a lot more than two! Do you expect LeBron to stay in Miami after this season?

Barkley: That will be interesting question. I've always personally hoped he would return to Cleveland. That's just my personal opinion. Why has Jason Collins not yet been signed?

Barkley: I think [the question] is a little unfair because he was on the downside of his career. I'm hoping someone picks him up, but to say nobody has picked him up because he is gay is really unfair. He was on his last legs as it was. It's an interesting situation because if you are a veteran team that needs six fouls and has a chance to win a championship, OK, maybe [you sign him]. Or he can mentor some young guy who has real potential but had some stuff going on, like a DeMarcus Cousins. Unless you are a championship contender and need a big body who can give you six fouls a game, it is not like he's averaging a bunch of points. For any team that signs him, how much of a media circus would it be?

Barkley: That's a great question. I don't know if it would be a circus. It would be more about how the fans would react. The players would be cool with it. I'd want to see how the fans would react. How many games will the Sixers win this year?

Barkley: Well, sitting [Nerlens] Noel for the season is probably the smart move. The over-under was 21 [wins]. I'm taking the under now. If Noel was playing, I would have taken the over. But I think it's a smart move because [Noel] is not physically or offensively ready to play in the NBA. [Editor's note: The oddsmaker Bovada lists the 76ers' current over/under win total at 16.5.] Last year, you told that you were not sure whether you would make it to the end of your Turner contract, which concludes in three years. Where does your thinking stand now?

Barkley: I'm going to finish out my contract, and I think I am going to do more games as an analyst this year. I enjoyed doing the games on site. People don't really understand we are in the studio from 8 p.m. to 2:30 in the morning, but we are only working 45 minutes. I have been doing this for 14 years so it was fun being at the games. You have to be on your toes. It was cool saying hello to the players. And I think Turner liked me doing it so I'm going to do more. Have you seen Andrew Wiggins play?

Barkley: First of all, no. Why would I watch a high school player? That's stupid. I've heard all the stuff. OK, he's a great high school player. Let me see what happens when he gets to college. When people ask me who will be the Rookie of the Year, I say, "I don't know." The guys have played against college players. Nobody expected Damian Lillard to win Rookie of the Year. I will watch the Wiggins kid play when I start watching college basketball. I am not going to project how great he will be. I mean, Kwame Brown was a great high school player. How excited are you for the start of this season?

Barkley: It's been a long time since I have been this excited for a season. In the last five or six years, there has probably been five teams that could actually win a championship. I think there are eight legitimate contenders this year if everything goes their way. There are four elite teams in each conference so I am excited to look at some of these teams. I mean, the Washington Generals might make the playoffs this year! I love [the Wizards] getting [Marcin] Gortat.
All you guys act like Miami is a juggernaut. First of all, they went seven games with the Pacers [in last season's Eastern Conference finals] and they should have lost to the Spurs [in the NBA Finals]. It ain't like they are the Michael Jordan Bulls! Listen, Miami, congratulations, they had a fantastic run. But it ain't like they swept the Pacers and Spurs. Anyone who doesn't think the Spurs blew that series does not know basketball. Now if Greg Oden can play, Miami will be tough to beat. But when they play against big teams, they really struggle. Shaq faces the most criticism of your studio analysts. Why do you think that is?

Barkley: Listen, man, we love Shaq on the show. I don't understand why people worry about this. It's like when I watch ESPN's show. I have never watched and thought, "This guy sucks." For me, it's, "Dude, who is playing tonight and tell me some stuff." But I don't hear criticisms of me either [laughs]. I know you love the NFL. What teams have impressed you this year?

Barkley: Every team that has a good quarterback is successful and every team that does not have a good quarterback is not. Andy Reid has done a great job, but the Chiefs getting Alex Smith took them to a whole other level. They have changed the rules so much where it is a 100 percent offensive game and your team is dictated by how your quarterback plays. It is amazing to me.