By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 17, 2008
ORLANDO, April 16 -- When he chose the Cavaliers to beat the Wizards in a first-round playoff series that begins this weekend in Cleveland, TNT television analyst Charles Barkley called the Wizards "the dumbest team in the history of civilization."
Barkley was referring to comments made by DeShawn Stevenson, who called LeBron James "overrated" after Washington's win over the Cavaliers on March 13, and Gilbert Arenas, who expressed confidence that the Wizards can beat the Cavaliers.
Before Wednesday's game in Orlando, Stevenson dismissed Barkley's comments.
"Are we really going to listen to a guy who said Yao Ming would not be an all-star in this league?" Stevenson asked. "I mean really. So who cares what he has to say? Tell Charles Barkley to chill and worry about other things. Don't worry about the Washington Wizards."
Arenas called Barkley's take "cute" and responded to Barkley's assertion that the Wizards shouldn't tweak James because, in Barkley's words, James is "the second-best player in the NBA, and that's just stupid."
"They might have the number two player," Arenas said. "But they don't have the number one end-of-quarter, end-of-half, end-of-game player."
Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said he has no problem with his players expressing their views.
"I have never gotten in our guys' way of saying what they have to say," Jordan said. "It's a player's league in that regard so let them say what they want to say and let's toss it up and see if you can walk the walk like you talk the talk."