Charles Barkley Doesn’t Think NBA Players Should Play In Europe Next Season
Charles Barkley is always good for a quality NBA sound byte—even in the middle of August. So with the start of the 2011-12 NBA season in serious doubt at this point, The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 invited the Large Mound of Rebound to talk about the NBA lockout yesterday and also asked him about the trend involving NBA players like New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams signing contracts to play overseas next season. Specifically, the Chicago-based radio hosts asked if a player like Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose would benefit from going to play for a team in Europe should the lockout force the cancellation of all or part of the 2011-12 season. And, not surprisingly, Chuck had a strong opinion on it.
“Well, I think it would be a mistake for Derrick Rose to go overseas,” he said. “I think any great player has got too much at stake. You could go there and hurt yourself…If you are as great as Derrick Rose, why would you risk your NBA career and contract by going overseas? I just don’t think that’s very smart.”
His reasoning is simple: Players who are making millions of dollars every year to play in the NBA, especially those with the largest contracts in the league, shouldn’t go to Europe to play for a few months just to avoid being rusty when the NBA lockout finally ends. Instead, they should think of the possible long-term repercussions of doing so and consider everything that could go wrong for them if they play in Europe—namely, injuries—and then decide against taking their talents overseas. It’s not the first time someone has made this point, but Barkley’s opinion does carry a little more weight than those who have said it before him thanks to his NBA resume.
Barkley didn’t stop there, though. He also has another suggestion for players like D-Rose if they’re getting restless because of the NBA lockout. And it’s a suggestion that some players like Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis, and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love have already taken to heart this summer.
“If I were somebody like Derrick Rose,” Barkley said, “I would go back and work on my degree. I think some of the lesser players are going to go over and play, because they can make some good money. But for someone like Derrick Rose, that’s a bad idea.”
It’s an interesting point. So many of today’s NBA players entered the league after just one or two years of college. As a result, a lot of them don’t have their college degrees. Some of them don’t seem to mind, but a lot of them have expressed interest in going back to school at some point. So, why don’t they do it now? The NBA puts a ton of emphasis on education, and it’d be great for more players to have their college degrees so that they’re setting a good example for young kids when they talk about education. And the NBA lockout has provided them with the perfect opportunity to go back to school.
Unfortunately, Barkley’s comments probably aren’t going to result in much. With Rose out traveling China right now with his sponsor Adidas, it’s unlikely that he’s going to enroll at the University of Memphis again anytime in the near future. But it is an interesting proposition for other players who have a ton of downtime on their hands right now thanks to the lockout. Rather than spend it foolishly or take a contract to play overseas that might not work out—”Those foreign teams are very famous for not paying players,” Barkley also said during the interview—NBA players should consider going back to school and getting their degrees.
As I said, it’s unlikely that all players will take Barkley’s advice. I’m pretty sure that almost none of them will do it. But, if nothing else, hopefully CB’s comments get guys thinking about using their time wisely during the lockout. It’s bad enough that they’re missing out on money because of the lockout. Let’s hope they’re not missing out on making the most of their time, too.