Charles Barkley defends ripping Kevin Durant over joining Warriors
The outspoken Charles Barkley has taken to the airwaves to defend his contention that Kevin Durant is trying to “cheat his way into a championship” by joining the Golden State Warriors and creating a superteam.
The NBA on TNT analyst has received some blowback for his harsh criticism of Durant, mainly stemming from the conjecture that he pulled the same stunt when he joined the Houston Rockets late in his career.
Barkley made an appearance on the “Doug Gottlieb Show” in the wake of the backlash to defend himself, saying in no way did he orchestrate his trade from the Phoenix Suns to the Rockets in 1996.
“First of all, let’s get a couple misnomers. I got traded to Houston,” Barkley said, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk. “I didn’t get asked to go to Houston. First of all, I never asked to go to Houston.
“So, that notion — I’ve heard that several times, that I was chasing a ring. I never chased a ring.”
Barkley did admit to demanding a trade earlier in his career from the Philadelphia 76ers because “they were a bad organization.”
But Barkley insists the Suns-Rockets deal was different.
“But the Suns traded me to Houston,” he said. “I wasn’t chasing a ring. … But this notion that I chased a ring in Houston — they traded me to Houston. I never said let me go play with old Clyde, old Hakeem and old Charles Barkley. So, that’s actually 100 percent not true.”
The Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, were one year removed from back-to-back championships when Barkley joined the team. And comments he made shortly after being acquired seemed to indicate he pulled some strings to effectuate the trade, saying in part at the time, “I called the shots. When push comes to shove, I think you have to stand up to the system.”
Barkley may be operating under the limitations of selective memory with his comments on Durant. Or perhaps he sees his situation with the Rockets as occurring under entirely different circumstances.
Either way, it’s arguably not a good look for Barkley.