Apparently, and unfortunately, his off-the-wall opinions are now encompassing the NBA Development League as well, because Barkley didn't mince any words regarding his distaste of the official minor league of the NBA in a recent interview with Sports Media Watch.
While the interview began as a discussion on the NBA's age limit and on-court and off-court development of college basketball players, it quickly turned into Barkley spewing uninformed opinions about a league that broke every one of its player development and attendance records this past season.
"The D-League is just a bunch of guys who don't want to get a damn job," Barkley began. "They're not going to make it in the NBA, trust me. If you're playing in the D-League, they might pick five guys a year, but they need to go and get a job."
While the D-League salaries alone aren't going to make a player rich, they are able to supplement their income with various overseas gigs or NBA Summer League opportunities during the offseason while reaching toward their NBA goals. Playing in the D-League is certainly looked at as a job, and the fastest way to reach the NBA for a player on the outside looking in, as opposed to some sort of hobby for masochists that enjoy flying from Bakersfield, Calif., to Portland, Maine, in the coach seat of a cramped plane only to bunk with a fellow teammate in the local Holiday Inn once they arrive at the scheduled destination.
"They're not baby -- those guys aren't going to play in the league," Barkley went on to say. "Dude, guys in the D-League are not going to play in the league. Yeah, there's going to be one or two here or there, but let's be realistic. I bet you -- Jeff [Pomeroy] (Senior Director of Public Relations at Turner Sports) could find out or Chico could find out -- I bet you there haven't been over ten, fifteen guys who got called up all year."The interviewer then wisely mentioned that "the Warriors have to account for at least five or six" call-ups (the actual count was five, as Chris Hunter, Cartier Martin, Anthony Tolliver, Coby Karl, and Reggie Williams were all added to the Warriors from the D-League), potentially diffusing Barkley's argument before it could get any more off-topic and out of line. It didn't.
"I'm just telling you, there's probably been five to ten, fifteen -- see, I look at the big picture. I want these kids getting their education. They've got to go on with their lives," Barkley said. "This has a huge effect on young, black kids especially, as far as being fathers. They're not making any money in the D-League. You end up doing that for X amount of years, and it messes up the family structure."As fellow NBA analyst Mark Jackson might quip, Mama there goes that man -- again. It's unclear how Barkley could watch as many NBA games as he must in able to retain his position with Turner Sports and not notice the impact NBA D-League call-ups had on the NBA this season, but "The Round Mound of Rebound" has apparently pulled it off. The D-League had a record 40 call-ups this season including 27 different players, another record, which is quite a few more than the "five to ten, fifteen" estimation that Barkley assumed.
Of those 27 players, 24 played four years of college basketball, with the outliers being Dwayne Jones, Alexander Johnson and JamesOn Curry -- all of whom played in the NBA their rookie season. It seems best to refrain from commenting on the remaining, seemingly unrelated tangent except to note that there are typically a couple of players on each D-League team that transport their family to whichever city they play in to thwart anything that might "mess up the family structure."
Couple that with the fact that many players move on from the D-League to play for more lucrative money overseas as their NBA call-up chances are diminished and it seems like it would be anything but a good idea for these players to "get a real job" instead of making enough money to live on while pursuing their dreams in hopes of a chance of playing on the same courts that Barkley did.
Obviously Barkley truly doesn't want to be a role model if he's trying to steer up-and-coming players away from reaching their goals of playing basketball, for money, at the highest level – much like Sir Charles did for 16 glorious NBA seasons.