NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says what he thinks, sometimes before he thinks about it for very long. You know who that makes Barkley like? Everybody else! Most people don’t get paid for their opinions, but they give ’em anyway and even the most woke construction worker, secretary, or even CEO wonders a little when they hear NBA players complaining. Because people have hard lives, they work hard, they do things they don’t want to do and deal with people they don’t necessarily like — and people do these things every day, day after day. NBA players do the same — no one is saying it’s easy being an NBA player. What people do say — and it’s where Barkley agrees — is that NBA players might take some time to realize what regular people go through in a given day before they start to say how rough they have it.
Barkley said that the NBA “guys ain’t got no problems.” That’s not true, of course. Money doesn’t solve everybody’s problems and fame can, famously, exacerbate problems. But what is true is that everybody has problems and issues they need to deal with — and sometimes a complaint from an NBA player sounds a little tone deaf to that fact. NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged that many NBA players have big problems and suffer from anxiety. There’s no doubt that’s true. It’s a high pressure job. But the flip side is it probably isn’t harder than the pressure felt by a single mother of three working two jobs to try to build a future — or even a tolerable present — for her family. That’s pressure. Responding to Silver’s comments, Barkley said the following in his typical blunt fashion:
“I think that’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard Adam say. And listen, he’s a great guy, but that’s the stupidest thing I might have ever heard any commissioner say. Listen, these guys are making $20, 30, 40 million a year, they work 6-7 months a year, we stay in the best hotels in the world. They ain’t got no problems. That’s totally bogus.”
Again, Barkley is incorrect that NBA players don’t have problems. NBA stars Kevin Love, Jahlil Okafor, and DeMar DeRozan have all gone public with depression. But even if he’s wrong on that particular fact, Barkley certainly speaks the way people at the coffee truck or the water cooler speak. Gimme a break, those people say, on hearing that Kyrie Irving is having a tough time. Give.Me.A.Break. Barkley concurs.