Charles Barkley Is Not a Fan of Analytics

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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 02: NBA TV Analysts Charles Barkley (R) and Kenny Smith talk after Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals on June 02, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) Issac Baldizon NBAE

On Monday I said that Charles Barkley should replace Lee Corso on College Gameday. My rationale was simple, he’s the most entertaining person on sports television. On Tuesday night Barkley gave us more evidence why that’s the case going after Houston’s general manager Daryl Morey after Morey criticized him on Twitter. It’s an entertaining clip which I’m embedding below.

I’m not sure what Morey expected here when he sent that Tweet. You know TNT will share the Tweet, right? You come at the king you best not miss. 

And he missed. 

As a result Barkley walloped him to entertaining result. (Special bonus points here for Shaquille O’Neal attempting to use the word vitriol). 

The reality is both of these guys are right. I’m sick of people who want to beat the Malcolm Gladwell talent doesn’t matter drum. You guys are the real idiots. Talent matters a great deal. In all aspects of life, but especially in high level sports. Let’s use the NBA for example, at birth 98% of us aren’t ever going to be tall enough to ever play in the NBA. So all that time you and I spent perfecting our fadeaways with dreams of winning titles was void at our birth. If you’re not going to be 6’3″ or taller, you pretty much have no shot at playing in the NBA. So the vast majority of us are out of the draft based on the genetic lottery. Height is rare, height coupled with extreme athleticism is even rarer. Talent matters.

A ton.  

But what about when the talent is relatively equal and you’re trying to decide who to spend your money on in pro basketball? You need a metric other than the eye test, right? Especially in today’s NBA where you can only sign a couple of max contract players and then you have to supplement them with the best values. Not everyone can go sign LeBron James. But everyone has to find a way to beat him? So how do you do that? You try to do it with analytics. So Morey’s right that analytics matter.

The reality of this spat is that both Barkley and Morey will return to their respective fan bases and both sides will tell them that they won. Barkley’s group will pat him on the back and thank him for lighting up the stat nerds and Morey’s group will roll their eyes and say that Barkley’s just a dumb athlete. Each man strengthens their base and enrages their critics.  

Again, neither of these arguments is true, but it makes for great television. Remember, despite what the angry Twitter mobs will tell you, THIS IS SPORTS, NONE OF IT REALLY MATTERS VERY MUCH. IT’S ENTERTAINMENT.

We all love to watch disagreements. If they’re disagreements that also happen to be funny, even better. That’s why Barkley is TV gold. He’s the rare analyst who doesn’t care who he pisses off with his opinion. In an ocean of easily offended people — this is the least offensive era in American history yet simultaneously it’s the most easily offended — somehow Barkley continues to be able to get away with the equivalent of TV murder. Who else in televised sports can accuse all the women of San Antonio of being fat and gain popularity? I love him.    

One additional thought: if Morey’s talent is numbers just like Barkley’s talent is basketball, isn’t Morey doing the exact same thing — exploiting his talent to the best of his ability — that Barkley and the rest of the top NBA players did during their careers? Don’t hate the player, Chuck, hate the game.

Also, if he wanted to return fire, Morey might also want to point out that chicks don’t like the math nerd in high school. So prom can be rough. But once he’s really rich in his late 20’s or early 30’s? He tends to do pretty well for himself.

If Morey Tweeted, “You’re right, Charles, staying home for prom was rough. But post high school has been great. Turns out, chicks dig guys who are great at math.” 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.