Charles Barkley will always speak his mind when it comes to basketball, and, oftentimes, it’s in favor of current NBA players, with the Hall of Famer and TNT analyst understanding the landscape of pro sports today and how these guys carry themselves. It’s why Barkley often blasts coaches or front office people before ever throwing a player under the bus — well, unless that guy’s Draymond Green, with whom he has a saucy feud with.
In a time where everyone’s freaking out about the coronavirus rapidly spreading across the globe — and rightfully so — many sports fans are pointing the finger at Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert, who was the first NBA player found positive for having COVID-19. It wasn’t that Gobert singlehandedly shutdown the NBA for the time being that’s making people mad, though, it’s that, just days prior, he was seen goofing around by carelessly touching every microphone and recorder while being interviewed. The video went viral, and it gave everyone a chance to crap all over Gobert once the league suspended play for at least 30 days just days later.
However, as dumb as Gobert’s little act looks now, Charles Barkley is defending him. While talking on TNT the other day, Chuck said that the best thing about playing in the NBA is joking around with teammates, and that Gobert shouldn’t be the scapegoat here. Take a look below.
“I want to give my best for Rudy Gobert. I know people are piling on him for what happened. He made an honest mistake. Kenny and Shaq know, we all touch each other’s stuff every single day. When you’re on an NBA team, that’s the best thing about playing, screwing around with your teammates. I know he feels awful, I just want to give him my best.”
It’s an interesting take from Barkley, but, as he mentions, even he, Shaq, Kenny and Ernie all joke around by touching one another’s face or stuff; it’s just harmful joking. Of course, when Gobert’s test came back positive for coronavirus, that’s when people stopped laughing and started getting angry, but this could’ve been anyone else in the league. Remember, Anthony Davis could have been the guy who tested positive after his self-proclaimed “disgusting” handshake with a teammate — would people have been so hard on him?
As for Barkley, he’s admitted to self-quarantining himself after falling ill over the past couple of days, so, of anyone, he could’ve piled on the shit that Gobert is currently taking from others. Instead, he reminded us why he’s one of the best in the business, and defended the Jazz center for just having some fun. Unfortunately, it came back to bite him in the ass and led to the NBA shutting down games for a month.