Charles Barkley has not exactly made his post-playing-days living saying controversial things, but he’s enhanced it that way. But Barkley is hitting the news now for announcing something hardly controversial this time, even if it does seem to slight superstars Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and LeBron James. Barkley says Kawhi Leonard is the “best player in the world.”
The San Antonio Spurs are 35-6, behind only Curry’s Warriors. In singling out Leonard as the best, Barkley admitted Curry is the best offensive player in the league and that over the last decade, James has reigned supreme. But at this moment, Barkley holds that Leonard — last year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year — is the all-around best. He’d pick the 24-year-old Leonard first if he were building a team. But doesn’t LeBron James, since he guarantees his team a trip to the NBA Finals every year, have a lock on “best” until he at least misses a trip? Maybe, but Barkley says James will meet Leonard and the Spurs there this year, so we’ll see. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can’t wait.