Charles Barkley had some real talk on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on Thursday, just days after Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose dared to voice concern about the ways a professional basketball career might be physically taking a toll on his body. Barkley called his comments “stupid.”
“He’s a great player and a great kid … but that was stupid,” Barkley said (via SportingNews.com) regarding the comments in which Rose voiced concern over what his physical state might be in a decade or two. Rose was particularly concerned about having to limp around because of bum knees. Barkley was apparently unmoved.
“There are consequences for what we do for a living. We’ve got the best life in the world,” Barkley said. “I’m a poor black kid from Leeds, Alabama, who grew up in the projects and I don’t mind limping around [now]. When I go home, I have a big ol’ house. I’ve got good sheets; I don’t know the thread count, but they’re good sheets. I’ve got a big car and I never have to worry about bills. Derrick Rose is making $20 million a year and he’s got a couple of bad knees. There are pros and cons of what we do for a living.”
But what seemed to really get Barkley was what he perceived as a lack of self awareness from Rose about how “blessed” he is.
“We’re so blessed,” Barkley said. “There are people that work harder than Derrick Rose that go home to a shack.” He also said:
“That’s disrespectful to maids, people who are in the army, people who go out and kill people and get killed, people who got no arms and no legs. Listen, as much as I like Derrick Rose, that was just flat-out stupid.”
Shaquille O’Neal backed Barkley up with some critical comments of his own.
“I was taught that if you could walk, you could play,” O’Neal said (via NBC Sports). “You see how Kevin McHale walks now, how Phil Jackson walks now, how Charles [Barkley] and I walk…but it was worth it. When you make comments like that, it makes you look soft … but he can only be himself. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
Rose, meanwhile, wishes everyone would calm down. In an interview with Rachel Nichols before Thursday night’s game — which Rose, perhaps ironically, exited toward the end of the fourth quarter with a left hamstring injury — he accused people of taking his previous words out of context.
“I was just worrying about myself and worrying about my future like every player in the league does,” Rose said. He just happened to be doing it out loud. He added:
“I’ll probably just think different. It’s only my seventh year but further into my career and my life, just trying to plan things out. I think people took that out of context but it is what it is. I was being myself and that’s all I can be. I couldn’t care less.”