TNT held their annual NBA media luncheon today, which gave assembled media members the chance to ask TNT personalities Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, and Mike Fratello. PBT wasn’t in attendance, but SLAM Online’s Ben Osborne was.
Below is Osborne’s account of what happened when the conversation inevitably turned to the Heat — Barkley has been one of the most vocal critics of both LeBron James and “The Decision” all summer, and he didn’t shy away from giving his opinion on what the Heat now need to do:
Besides catching up with some of the other media types there, I participated by asking Levy if TNT was approached about airing “The Decision” (”No,” he said. “And we wouldn’t have been interested in something where we had to give up control like that.”), all of the guys if Erik Spoelstra was up to the challenge of leading the star-powered Heat (Kenny said definitely, but Charles thinks there’s a real question as to whether Spo’ will fell comfortable yelling at LeBron/Wade, etc.) and taking lots of notes in the hopes of getting a great soundbite.
Sure enough, Sir Charles delivered. Somewhat unprompted, as the lunch and conversation were winding down, he announced that in his opinion, “the Heat have to win two, probably three, championships, in the next five years to be a success. We have never had a situation like that in the NBA.”
Strong words from Barkley. And no, he wasn’t asked any questions about the Nike spot that came out today — in the comments of Osbourne’s post, he says that he wished he’d known about the ad so he could’ve asked Barkley about it. Knowing Barkley, he’ll probably have some thoughts about that ad sooner rather than later.