You can always count on Charles Barkley to say what’s on his mind. Barkley recently checked in with The Dan Patrick Show (via Sportsradiointerviews.com) where he discussed the Lakers’ latest drama, and how he would have handled being called out publicly by a teammate like Dwight Howard was by Kobe Bryant:
“The first thing I would do, he should’ve already told Kobe Bryant to shut the hell up or I’m going to kick his ass. He should’ve did that, because as a man there’s only so many times you can call me out publicly. If you call me out privately, OK, I can live with it, but as a man if you keep calling me out publicly I have got to come back at you at some point. Kobe Bryant is one of the 10 greatest players ever but I think he’s crossed a line somewhat lately. When you start questioning somebody’s toughness, talking about they should play hurt and things like that, you’re crossing the line.”
Barkley also had some choice words for Howard’s father. “I’m a firm believer that your dad, your mom, your sisters should shut the hell up.” Barkley said. “Family members have to be smart enough. First of all, a reporter doesn’t care about you, they don’t care about your opinion unless you’re going to say something controversial, so any family members should shut the hell up and never say anything.”
Barkley’s comments may come off a little raw (don’t they always?), but I think he’s correct to point the fact that if Howard wants to be taken seriously he needs to start standing up for himself. He’s not playing in a junior varsity media market like Orlando anymore. It’s varsity time now. Howard needs to face the reality that he’s got to toughen up if he wants to take his game to the next level. It takes a truly special player to be able to thrive as a superstar in a big market like Los Angeles or New York.
Based on what we’ve seen so far this year, I’m not so sure Howard is cut out for LA or Brooklyn.