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After the Utah Jazz beat Zion’s Pelicans last night 129-118, NBA legend Charles Barkley had some criticism to share.
“Donovan Mitchell can score, but he has no other impact on the game,” Barkley said.
Mitchell’s teammates rushed to his defense, but we don’t care about that. Nets’ superstar Kevin Durant barked back and that got our attention. Here’s the post that added fuel to the fire:
“I don’t know why they still ask for this idiot’s opinion,” added later in the comments.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant both jumped into the scuffle to explain what they believe is happening. They seem to suggest that former players are disguising envy as constructive criticism. And there’s really one important factor to weigh in situations like these:
Who is the messenger?
When Charles Barkley, who has quite literally hoisted as many NBA titles as you and I have, runs his mouth, players who have led teams to championships likely won’t accept his criticism.
Barkley insists that Jazz star Donovan Mitchell is failing to “impact winning,” yet how much winning did Barkley impact himself? Sure, he had Michael Jordan in his way, but he made it through the Western Conference to face Mike just once.
That’s 16 seasons that Sir Charles laced up kicks and was sent home the same way Donovan Mitchell was in each of his first three seasons. So it’s not that KD has a beef with Charles Barkley’s opinion. It’s that Charles in particular has no business being the messenger. That is objectively true.
But let’s answer KD’s question:
They ask for Charles Barkley’s opinion because he’s part of the 1% who’s willing to express himself without worrying about cancel culture. Listening to Barkley and Shaq bicker like a married couple is often better than the games they’re covering.
KD needs to realize that while he’s not wrong that some of these former players are haters, it’s also their job to entertain. Sometimes the only thing we can do to entertain an audience is to criticize.