Charles Barkley discussed load management on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio and his comments have sparked a huge debate among the NBA community about the issue.
Barkley doesn’t approve of the concept of load management and chose to focus on how ownership was going to use this against the players at the negotiating table.
“I cannot wait for these owners to put their foot in their asses this next CBA”
“These dudes gonna do something to these players. They gonna be like wait a minute you can’t make $50 million and not play half the season, okay? Because now you’re really just slapping me in my face and taking my check twice a month.”
Following Barkley’s words, Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams had a heated discussion about it on ESPN.
“If you know that 19,000 people came to an arena to see you it might help if you wasn’t sitting on the bench in street clothes with a smile on your face jumping up and jumping around like there was nothing wrong with you when they came to see you play,” Smith said.
“We’re seeing it too often. No one is questioning the legitimacy of injuries. What we’re saying is we know that load magnet is an element of the game. We know that the players are not only the ones guilty of it you have management and executives and owners that play a role in it.
“We also have to acknowledge that with the money that’s in the game and the money that the players are getting paid there are times where they give you the impression..so what, deal with it this is the way it is, get over it, so what you paid your money and I’m saying you got to careful about that you have to mindful of the fact that somebody might not know better and all they know is that they traveled 3000 miles to see you play or came to a game once because they can’t afford season tickets. You gotta pay attention to all of these things.”
Williams responded with: “I can’t make everybody happy all the damn time. So you’re telling me a kid that drives all the way to see me play in Chicago when I played my year for the Bulls, if I happen to roll my ankle, I’m sitting out because the team is like we’re on a back-to-back…
“We start questioning the legitimacy of injuries, that’s what we’re doing,” Williams continued.
“We’re saying well you know what? Because guys 20 years ago played through that injury that means since I came all the way down here you have to play through that injury. Well hold on a second, the signs are telling me I shouldn’t play through this injury because there’s a lingering effect on what this happens so if we want to fix it let’s drop it down to 70 games, let’s cancel back-to-backs. There’s gonna be an economic issue with that but let’s lower games then.”
Another ESPN personality and former NBA player Richard Jefferson weighed in on the subject and told a story about how when he was younger his family bought him a single ticket to a Spurs game because David Robinson was his favorite player.
“My Dad dropped me off at the game, gave me five dollars and I went in there by myself because my family couldn’t afford to come to the game,” Jefferson said. “My Dad went to a bar and watched the game and came back and picked me up when the game was over.
“So it’s like everyday I stopped on the floor, I remembered my father, I remember having one ticket and being there and the families and all the people that were probably just like me.
“We can’t just gloss over this, I blame the teams, I blame the training staff, cause the players in this generation are doing more of what they are told then going out there and leaving it all out on the floor.”