Charles Barkley hates the playa and the game, but he should look in the mirror

It gets a bit tiresome.

Every Cinderella story needs a bitter, jaded, elderly hater. Charles Barkley is college basketball’s evil stepmother analog. One of the most maddening staples of every March Madness is TNT loaning out Charles Barkley for CBS’ NCAA Tournament studio show coverage where he dissects college hoops with the deftness of a butcher while pretending he’s a tastemaker or expert with something worth saying on the topic.

As part of that exchange though, CBS’ 60 Minutes broadcast aired an interview with Charles Barkley in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama on Sunday night after the Final Four was settled. The show’s segments featured an earnest look at sensory touch technology in prosthetics and an exposé on eBay execs harassing a couple running a small website.

Who asked for a Barkley interview?

Nestled in between those hard-hitters was Barkley giving the sport of basketball a terrible name. In Barkley’s version of the world, he hates everything it’s become. He railed against Kevin Durant’s sensitive disposition as a symptom of his generation, which is one of the most generic, catch-all criticisms of every generation from the one before it in civilized human history.

His calling Kevin Durant sensitive is ironic. Three years ago, he threatened politics reporter Alexi McCammond by whispering, “I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you,” because he felt she humiliated him.

Barkley is the lead in one of TV’s most irreverent ensemble casts covering the NBA. But Inside the NBA is a comedy. As a television-viewing public, we’ve got to start treating Barkley like the entertainer he is. He’s not an astute analyst or an expert.

It’s hard to tell where angry Chuck begins and docile, reflective Chuck begins. We all have multitudes, but none of Barkley’s asinine commentary on the complex financial dynamics of NIL or the legislation to reform it, whatever that entails, is illuminating. As usual, his takes were bad. He parachutes into college basketball every March, then regales the audience with amusing stories about washing his jersey in the shower at Auburn and wearing it the next game. What goes unnoticed is that the majority of his college basketball analysis is insipid. During the 2018 Tournament, he didn’t know the difference between Purdue and Iowa.

An NIL take from Charles — this was never gonna end well

On 60 Minutes, Barkley also sank his teeth into the topic of name, image, and likeness compensation for student-athletes on a separate occasion from the studio.

In response to new NCAA President Charlie Baker’s comments about federal NIL compensation legislation, Barkley suggested the athletic directors and universities come together and bargain about a standard that will benefit them.

“Did he say we’re going to ask the politicians to help us?” said Barkley. “See that pisses me off already. Our politicians are awful people.” “I would actually go to people who actually care about basketball,” he added. “I would put a committee together. I would love for Clark [Kellogg] to be on the committee, get some coaches, get some players, and let’s try to work this thing out. We can’t ask these politicians nothing. Those people are awful people, Democrats and Republicans. They’re all crooks.”

Who’s going to tell him that the head of the NCAA he is gullible enough to believe can rig their own NIL standards internally is a former governor? I couldn’t think of a worse optic or result than the NCAA suppressing athlete compensation to make the lives of their programs easier. The only ones who would wind up getting stuffed in that scenario are the athletes. As it turns out, the NCAA’s member schools’ exploitation of student-athletes is a feature, not a bug for Barkley, who blamed NIL for ruining college basketball.

Here are the footnotes of Barkley’s pocket-watching and Playa hatin’ comments…

“It’s a travesty and a disgrace, I’m so mad now how we can mess up something that’s so beautiful.”

“We can’t play all these players.”


These players are already getting paid. The only problem college basketball has is catering to the casual fans because top NBA prospects would rather get paid to develop in the G League or Overtime Elite. Barkley’s fear-mongering over NIL is actually counterproductive to his cause for college basketball.

“In the next three to five years, we’re going to have 25 schools that’s going to dominate the sports because they can afford players and these schools who can’t afford or don’t pay players are going to be irrelevant.”

This year’s Final Four consists of Florida Atlantic, San Diego State, UConn, and a Miami team that is financed by the CEO of LifeWallet. But they’re the anomaly. UConn is the only program left that has reached a Final Four before, and their last one was nine years ago. I get that this interview was filmed prior to the tournament, but the tournament has been rife with parity for years.

Worst of all is that Barkley is a hypocrite, who admitted to taking money from agents during his three years at Auburn. For what it’s worth, during his stint as a Tiger, Auburn only played in one NCAA Tournament. That type of hypocrisy is almost performance art.

Barkley was being truthful 30 years ago, when he explained that he was not a role model. His counsel should whistle in one ear and out the other. The only athlete in this fractured culture whom I can agree was a role model is Secretariat, because at least he had the wisdom not to bump his gums on subjects he had little to no expertise in.

Follow DJ Dunson on Twitter: @cerebralsportex

LeBron James found the ‘LeBron James of feet’ to okay his return

Image for article titled LeBron James found the 'LeBron James of feet' to okay his return

lebronWe’ll refrain from the Rex Ryan jokes. LeBron James returned yesterday to the Lakers…for some reason, to aid the Lakers’ chase to get dog-walked in the first round, at best. James had been told by two doctors that he should have surgery on his foot, only to find a doctor who would tell him what he wanted to hear. Which seems less getting a second opinion and simply looking for permission, but when you’re the best of all-time you can do what you want with your body. It sounded a lot like this:

There are probably more similarities between James and Cruise than we’d all like to consider, but we’ll leave that to the side for now because it’s the start of the week and there’s many miles to go before we sleep.

Still, you know you’re in your very own weight class when you can describe someone in a different field than yours as…yourself:

This is reminiscent of Robert Goulet’s Vegas show, when Goulet would use the word, “Goulet!” as an adjective and exclamation. As in, “Lots of pretty ladies here tonight. GOULET!” There are probably more similarities between Goulet and James than we’d all like to consider but we’ll leave that to the side for now because it’s the start of the week and there’s many miles to go before we sleep.

It must be a special feeling to think to yourself, “I need the me of sump pumps.” You and I do that and we’re definitely getting C+ service at best, if not a slew of new problems and possibly financial or physical ruin. Of course, it didn’t really work out all that well for The King upon his return, as the Lakers basically got fed by a Bulls team that had to play more than half the game without Nikola Vucevic, who was ejected in the 2nd quarter by some awfully irritable refs.

Old Chuck yells at cloud

Charles Barkley was back to being a tired, old, angry man last night on “60 Minutes.”

If Chuck were college-age now, he probably wouldn’t mind being able to make some cash, especially as he played in an age when college players almost always had to serve out three or four years in college before getting to the NBA. This reeks of a fogey complaining that kids today don’t have to go through what they went through, even if what they went through was exploitative and unfair. If universities are going to treat sports like big business, so should players. Which they are now.

As far as Chuck’s complaint that college basketball will soon be dominated by only a handful of schools, I guess we could consult the history of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and one or two others to see if that’s always been the case in college basketball. Also seems a strange claim on a weekend when Miami, San Diego State, and Florida Atlantic are toddling off to the Final Four, not exactly schools known for being basketball powers.

This is where the NCAA basketball tournament acts as something of an equalizer to guard against Barkley’s fears, because any team can have a bad day and any team a couple good ones. Seeing as how NCAA basketball’s success has always been defined by tournament success, he probably shouldn’t worry about the same four teams showing up the first weekend of April every year.

Lighten up, Chuckles. Anger at your age isn’t good for the bile ducts.

NWSL is back

It was NWSL opening weekend, and the league averaged 15,000 fans for all six openers, a 50 percent increase on last year’s opening slate. But forget all that, who wants to see some bangers?!

That’s #1 pick in the NWSL draft Alyssa Thompson denting twine from across the I-10.

Or maybe Trinity Rodman running half the field to then crash home from outside the box against OL Reign is more your speed:

The Reign might want to think about a holding midfielder at some point, but let’s just enjoy the run and finish.

The Frozen Four

Finally, over in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, top-seed Michigan barely survived Penn State in overtime for the right to go to the Frozen Four. The Wolverines were bailed out in regulation by Adam Fantilli, one of the most prolific freshman in history, and the dead-on-balls #2 pick in the upcoming draft behind Connor Bedard. Watch the second replay on this one and see if you can find whatever hole Fantilli found to tie the game:

Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

Welcome to Deadspin’s The Sports Nihilist, where all is for naught and we are but accidental jolts of electrified meat stuck to the surface of a rock in an indifferent universe. Fuck you.

Jalen Rose famously says you got to give the people what they want, and the internet wants venom. It’s sustained on negativity. Your goddamn negativity. There’s a Force-Darkside analogy in here somewhere, but I’m not sure where the insult is, so let’s skip it.

You know what kind of slideshow does numbers that make digital media companies salivate like ravenous dogs? Insufferable fanbases. You know what kind of late-afternoon throwaway post with offhand jokes gets Twitter riled up? A negative one. How about a headline predicting an early end to a talented player’s career? Hell fucking yeah. Never mind that he could be good for the game and possibly your team, bury this clown alive.

You see, the thing about going online and saying some shit is I get a paycheck to justify it. I’m just a professional doing a job; it’s nothing personal. I know that’s what the bad guy says to the good guy right before getting his head blown off for committing a personal and very heinous crime. And I’m cool with being the villain.

When nothing matters, the only thing that matters is how you feel, and I have to say, I feel enough to get up every day and keep going. I’m doing pretty well at my job. My columns get clicks, my output is near the top of Deadspin, and I sleep great at night.

A logical person who cares about empathy and journalistic integrity might be appalled to hear me say that, but I’m fine being that guy — taking on the internet, calling out others because I refuse to look inward, quickly aggregating semi-viral moments for a few easy page views, and drinking myself to sleep at night.

What is spiraling debt if money is merely a figment of capitalism? I’ll be at peace when the world ends not with a bang but with the gradual erosion of our ecosystem as the laws of nature strangle out life from this planet, turning us into a science project for a smarter more intelligent species to discover and study.

If you’re (still reading and) saying to yourself, “I thought this guy was supposed to be making fun of the Sweet 16?” It’s coming. Take it easy you fucking hyena. You can click “Next slide” at any point. I have a few more insults to hurl at people who spend their day inhaling hate.

Well, actually, that about sums it up, so now for the part that you’ve all been waiting for: The negativity. My apologies if the following jokes are really bad. I’m literally cranking them out as fast as I can.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

It’s nice to see Tom Izzo back in the Sweet 16. I don’t have a punchline. I’m legitimately happy for the Spartans.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

This feels like a better opportunity to make fun of Kansas than Kansas State. However, Gradey Dick jokes are cliché, and I don’t want the karma that comes with making fun of a coach with a heart condition considering my current BMI.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I just want to reiterate this for pale white sports figures thinking about whipping their shirts off in front of a camera: It’s only funny if you’re doing it with 100 percent seriousness like Eric Musselman. We want unintentional comedy, not Kirk Cousins and Adam Schefter competing to see who can make people say “Turn it off” the fastest.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

This is more for the women’s team. Do Huskie fans actually like Geno Auriemma? If ever there was a guy worthy of the name Gradey Dick, it’s Geno.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

Isn’t this the school where Carl Pelini (Bo Pelini’s brother) resigned after allegedly doing cocaine and bong hits with students? (Carl Pelini allegedly admitted via text that “he uses drugs on occasion.”) That’s the most Florida man thing a Florida coach not named Urban Meyer has ever done.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

The Rick Barnes jokes really write themselves, and I don’t really feel like writing one, so ask Chat GPT to do it.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks
Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

The Bruins are actually my pick to win in the one pool I still have a shot to win, so I don’t have the requisite anger toward them to come up with a good joke other than something about how Jaime Jaquez Jr. looks like a knockoff Adam Morrison. Which reminds me, I should’ve made fun of him for that “One Shining Moment” ad in the Gonzaga section. (Although the real person I want to heave barbs at from that commercial is Greg Oden. Portland never forgets.)

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I have nothing but envy for all things San Diego — the weather, the fish tacos, the surfing, and the proximity to Tijuana. The only cursory knowledge I have of their hoops team is Kawhi Leonard went there, which gives me an in to add insult to the Clippers’ injuries. So, I guess, load management much?

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I absolutely am not touching this. Just like Nick Saban wouldn’t if Bryce Young was in a, umm, predicament, and not some freshman defensive back. But nice try, Satan.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

Well, damn, the men’s team doesn’t have an influencer playing point guard, so this is going to take some research, which I absolutely refuse to do for clickbait slideshows. So I’m just going to wait awkwardly until you move on to the next slide. 

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I need a ruling on how people feel about recruiting violations, of which Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson has committed hundreds. The main gripe I hear about college sports is how unseemly it all is. There’s no end to hush-hush payments, scandals, the exploitation of an unpaid workforce, etc. But do we care anymore? (I don’t care about it, or anything for that matter.)

I know the NCAA acts like violations are a no-no, but they don’t really enforce anything of consequence. It’d be nice if the NCAA just came out like Elon Musk and said we’re not going to regulate anything. At least keep it transparent. 

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

The Ivy League, running the free world and the Illuminati since the 1700s. Even though I’m 99 percent certain Princeton isn’t the school with the historic comedy program (newspaper?), I find it funny that people would pay that kind of tuition to learn to write jokes. All it takes to do that is a traumatic upbringing and too much time left to your own devices or in front of a TV. 

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I’ll just copy and paste this joke from the one I dropped in the work slack because it got a lagging emoji. Princeton playing Creighton aka the first time Blue Jay fans will be on the other side of the superiority complex. The people who will laugh the hardest at that are Nebraska Cornhusker fans, but I’d have to explain that considering Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith had no idea what state or city Creighton is from when CBS quizzed them about the teams they’re analyzing.

Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks
Image for article titled Insulting the Sweet 16 for the clicks

I’ll say this about the Longhorns, they better learn to corrupt their morals real quick or else the SEC is going to wash them. Did you see how Alabama handled the Miller situation? Chris Beard would still be stomping around on the sidelines in Austin if conference pride was the only thing that mattered. Hell, Beard is already onto his next SEC overhaul at Ole Miss. Get a clue, UT. You’re not in the Big 12 anymore. 

Charles Barkley airs his own dirty laundry during March Madness telecast

Excuse me, what?

No one wants their dirty laundry aired on national television, especially not on the Turner network of channels during March Madness. But Charles Barkley did just that — only he was the one doing the rinsing, scrubbing, and air drying. The Chuckster revealed that he used to clean his own NBA uniforms by showering in them after games.

Yeah, I don’t believe it either, and neither did Kenny Smith, Greg Gumbel, or Clark Kellogg for that matter.

The Jet’s reaction is the best part. Here’s him listening intently right before Chuck says some shit.

Image for article titled Charles Barkley airs his own dirty laundry during March Madness telecast

And here’s two seconds later after he does a double take.

Image for article titled Charles Barkley airs his own dirty laundry during March Madness telecast

And the Emmy goes to…

Oh my god, give Kenny and Charles the Emmy right now. I don’t care if this isn’t an NBA on TNT broadcast. They are the best comedy act out right now. Smith plays the straight man, and Barkley tells you about an era that only existed for him.

You need a washboard and some serious elbow grease to hand clean any article of clothing let alone a uniform. And I hate to break it to Chuck, but his shorts likely still emitted an odor strong enough to clear the paint.

There are so many golden opportunities for a patented TNT crew photoshop off of this. Charles scrubbing his uniform on a washboard (or on washboard abs that definitely weren’t his). Barkley in the shower looking like Tobias Fünke the never nude. A Kenny reaction GIF that’s universal for every instance Chuck says some wild shit.

The only person who probably thinks what Barkley did was sanitary is Dan Orlovsky, who also aired his own dirty laundry this week. I don’t know which is more groaty — taking 30 showers before washing your towel, or laundering your sweaty shorts and tops by showering in them. Both are antithetical to the point of showers and hygiene writ large.

But that’s a debate for the 17th iteration of the Great Debates tournament, Deadspin’s novelty bracket that’s live right now on

Alright just reviewing my blog checklist to make sure I got everything — relevant content, check, a couple of forgettable one-liners, check, shameless plug of other stories on the site, check, and double checked. Yup, I hit it all. Enjoy your weekend. 

NBA’s GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

MJ is the NBA’s goat as a player. As an owner? Not so much...

When you’re so incredibly talented at something, it tends to give you a false sense of confidence in other areas of your life. Perhaps no one in a star’s inner circle wants to be cast out so they evolve into yes-men, or a player’s competitive drive makes them believe anything is possible. I’m not a sports psychologist (I just play one on the internet), so I’m uncertain as to why it keeps happening.

A lot of athletes think that being able to buy nice clothes makes them fashionistas when in reality Russell Westbrook is just wearing hand-me-down jeans. Guys create content companies and then make a bunch of vanity projects that the public is supposed to laud objectivity and originality be damned.

But if you’re really successful, like, say, Michael Jordan, you actually do believe you can fly. And that’s given us some great unintentional comedy. From baseball to running the Bobcats/Hornets, his choice of jeans and facial hair, his Airness doesn’t have Childish Gambino-level diversity, and that’s OK. Knowing your limits is key to the path to happiness, so let’s try to help MJ instead of hurt, and point out a few things that he should never do again.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

People don’t forget this, but I have blank space to fill so I’m going to say it anyway: Jordan was responsible for the Washington Wizards picking Kwame Brown (pictured) with the first overall selection. We should’ve known then that Jordan and talent evaluation are not simpatico.

Charles Barkley even said as much, which is why he and MJ are no longer friends. However, maybe there’s hope for them yet. Perhaps Jordan divesting from Charlotte is an indicator that he now knows his limits, and will apologize to Chuck for being so sensitive. Or Jordan’s line of credit in Vegas is dwindling and papa needs another stack of chips?

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

If you need recent evidence beyond a decade-plus of forgettable Hornets/Bobcats basketball, Charlotte rehired Steve Clifford this season to overlook the best player he’s ever drafted. The coach they fired five years ago who flamed out in Orlando of all places.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

I know, I know. According to many accounts, Jordan got better on the diamond every year. It wasn’t a Tim Tebow to the Mets situation where he stepped into the batter’s box because his first sport gave up on him. Jordan did get better, and 99 percent of the human population couldn’t pivot to baseball and hang around the way MJ could’ve if he really did want to finish his career in the minor leagues.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

Be truthful though. How much did Jordan benefit from a lack of camera phones? A lot? A lot a lot? A fuck ton? A metric fuck ton? If he endured two years of snarky internet people mocking him on TikTok after every strikeout, how does that impact his persona? His confidence? The man went viral for taking everything personally. He comes off as the sort of person who’d keep at it until he got good enough to tell them to fuck off, and by that time, he may have elapsed his hoops prime.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

I mean this is really a problem. They’re ripped and baggy. I have a pair like Jordan’s because I wear them hunting, and I’d rather not rip my nice ones. I understand that pre-torn denim is considered fashionable, and that my preferences are not. Anyone can wear anything they desire. As long as you feel good about yourself — and that’s never been a problem for Mike — do you.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

Be that as it may, I want to hark back to something I said earlier about knowing your limits.

From one questionable dresser to another: If there’s enough fabric in your jeans to create a three-piece Canadian tuxedo for a 12-year-old, you might want to rethink your wardrobe.

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

This had to be a practical joke. It’s almost as if he shaved it that way, and said to himself, “I can bring back the Adolf” then asked Charles Oakley about it, and as subtle payback for beating the Knicks all those years, Oak said, “Do it. No one even remembers the Third Reich. Oh, also, I have a pair of jeans I think you’d enjoy.”

Image for article titled NBA's GOAT is looking to sell his stake in the Charlotte Hornets and other failures

And that’s where today’s attempt at comedy ends. With a fake exchange between Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley about repopularizing (wouldn’t it have to be popular first in order to repopularize?) the facial hair of one of the worst people in the history of the human race.

Is Shaq gonna get served on TV?

He’ll have to come out of hiding to return to television, no?

It’s not too shocking that athletes or celebrities in general don’t know much about whatever they’re getting paid to promote. If the check clears is about as much thought as they have to put into it. No one thinks Steve Martin drinks Pepsi in his free time. Or that Brie Larson is tooling around in a Nissan. Or that Fred Astaire is dancing around a Dirt Devil in the afterlife, though perhaps he’s using it to clean up his abode wherever that might be. Then again, none of those products are specifically designed to siphon off your money directly, just indirectly. And you get something for that siphoned money, even if it’s just diabetes and a funny-looking vehicle.

But FTX, and crypto in general, are things that were meant to siphon off a whole bunch of people’s money, which they did, until they disappeared into the scenery like that one part of Yellow Submarine (you haven’t seen it, I know, but just trust me there’s a point in the film where everyone ends up in a void). And there are some people who lost a whole bunch of money and are looking for someone to blame — i.e. sue — and a fine target is those who got on TV or social media and told them to chuck their cash into a figurative sinkhole with an electric “This definitely works!” sign next to it. Which is where Shaquille O’Neal finds himself at the moment.

And he’s apparently the only one who can find himself.

While the other celebrities named in the suit have been served, it would seem they can’t find Shaq anywhere as he is disparu. You wouldn’t think a 7-foot-2 man who weighs…well, we’ll be kind and say, “enough,” could go into hiding, but here we are.

Shaq catches a break as TNT takes a pause from its NBA coverage to dip into the NCAA tournament, and they know enough to know that Shaq doesn’t do any research on the NBA so there’s no chance he’s going to have any idea who’s playing in front of him in the college ranks. He’s on hiatus, basically. Shaq could remain in his bunker for a couple more weeks. His bunker that’s fully stocked with umbrella drinks, to be sure.

However, TNT will return to the NBA at the end of March, and it’s not much of a secret where the studio is in Atlanta. One can only imagine the face Charles Barkley will make if Shaq gets served on television, and I’ve really never hoped for anything more now.

But until then, we have a new Waldo. A Waldo that should be easier to spot, but also one that probably comes with a compound that no one can penetrate. Those books would have been a lot less popular if it were just a picture of a big house with security cameras and he was peaking out from behind a tinted window, though a valuable lesson to kids everywhere on the things they won’t have.

I want to buy this Tage Thompson pass a drink

The Buffalo Sabres are fading from the Eastern Conference playoff chase, but that doesn’t mean they can’t provide fun in the season’s last few weeks. They’ve been a season-long party so far, given the fireworks they can produce and also surrender as head coach Don Granato cackles maniacally behind the bench as yet another four-man forecheck gets beaten up the ice.

They were able to execute some get-back on the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, coming back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 to make up for getting utterly thwacked by the Leafs a couple of weeks ago in Buffalo.

The tying goal came from this feed from Tage Thompson to Alex Tuch, and to describe it as lethal as well as Monet-esque is probably not doing it enough justice:

The finish is punchy as well, as Tuch is able to one-time it as well as get it top shelf from in tight. But the pass is one of those sleight of hand tricks that you didn’t even realize happened until it was over. Like Ali’s Ghost Punch or the time my father was able to remove his coat and empty the contents of all the pockets at airport security and yet keep his ounce of weed hidden with TSA agents no more than two feet away. Stunning, but only in the aftermath when you appreciate what really happened.