It’s the offseason, there’s a lockout, and yet Charles Barkley is still finding a way to get Miami fans mad at him. And they were plenty mad at him before.
Barkley went on Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable (a new show on ESPN2) last Friday to talk about whatever Barkley has an opinion on. Which is everything. But of course the Miami Heat came up in conversation.
Here is the quote (transcribed by Tom Haberstroh at the Heat Index).
First piece of advice you’d give LeBron James right now.
Stop taking himself so seriously. He’s a great, great player. He’s a really good dude. I would ask him to go and talk to Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan … those guys who are really great like him. Every person who’s a star or who’s famous or rich or whatever, should always go talk to an older person who has been in that situation.
Here’s the thing — as long as we can remember LeBron has been criticized for not being serious enough. He kept things light on the Miami sidelines (remember the team photo gimmick) and he heard about it. Now, he’s taking himself to seriously. LeBron cannot win. Wait, let me rephrase that: LeBron cannot win until he wins. When (if?) he gets a ring then we’ll hear him get praised for finally being serious or doing a great job keeping the team loose under pressure. Lose and he’s wrong, win and he’s right (that’s not just him, that’s pretty much every American athlete not named Barry Bonds).
By the way, we shouldn’t leave out that Barkley called Dwyane Wade “whiny.”
Have you done real damage to your friendship, to your relationship with Dwyane Wade? Is there real damage done there by your criticism?
Dwyane has become like the Miami group, a little whiny. You know, Dwyane’s a great guy. LeBron’s a great guy. They’re both great players. I’ve never criticized them as a basketball team. I did criticize them for that decision when they came around on stage, dancing like idiots, talking about how they were going to win five or six championships. And he’s a little sensitive about that, but I know I’m 100 percent right to criticize that stuff.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.