The Nets are hoping to take a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Bucks in game four on Sunday, but don’t expect Charles Barkley to be rooting for them.
The NBA analyst on TNT and former Suns and Sixers star told reporters he wants to see Brooklyn lose, citing his desire to never see any “superteams” win it all, as it goes against the way the NBA constructed itself during his playing days.
“[Kevin Durant] is a great player, and I think he’s a great kid,” Barkley said, via Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know him that well, but I’m not a fan of superteams. So listen, if they win it, they win it, but to be perfectly clear, I’m rooting against those guys. I root against all superteams.”
The Nets clearly hold the greatest superteam identity of all the teams remaining in the playoff hunt, with Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the way while James Harden works his way back from a hamstring injury. That star power alone is enough for the Hall of Famer Barkley to pull for whoever is matched up against Brooklyn.
“To go back to my day, even though we didn’t win the championship, the Sixers were worth watching,” Barkley said. “The Knicks were worth watching. The Pacers were worth watching when Reggie was there, same thing with Atlanta and Dominique. I just don’t think it’s good for business, but these young kids, they all fold to peer pressure and feel like they’ve got to win a championship or their life sucks. I don’t believe that. Listen, there’s not many people I’d trade my life with.”
Durant already has two titles after signing with a stacked Warriors team after leaving the Thunder, while Irving has a title from beating Golden State with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, just before Durant arrived. Barkley never won a title, but said forming superteams to do so would have been harmful for the league, and doesn’t think it helps the overall intrigue for the NBA in the modern day either.
“If I’d known you guys were going to make fun of me for not winning a championship, I would have joined a superteam back in my day, me and Patrick [Ewing] and Karl Malone and John Stockton,” Barkley said. “But I feel good about my legacy. I’m pretty sure Patrick and John and Karl do, too. LeBron [James] started this superteam thing, and hey, it’s the way the game is played now.”
Barkley was named an All-Star for 11 straight seasons during his career, and after consistently falling short with Phoenix, he was traded to the Rockets to play alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, though that trio was just past their prime by that time, falling to the Jazz in the playoffs. That was the closest Barkley ever was to being a part of a superteam, of course not the level of what the Nets have in their current trio, which might be the best offensive threesome the league has ever seen.
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1