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“They Played Every Game For $3000 A Year”: Charles Barkley Compares NBA Legends’ Will To Play Every Game To Today’s ‘Load Management’

Trikansh Kher

"They Played Every Game For $3000 A Year": Charles Barkley Compares NBA Legends' Will To Play Every Game To Today's 'Load Management'

The current group of NBA players has a certain reputation in the ‘old-head’s circle’ of the league. The players of yesteryear think the league has gotten “soft” since their time. The current athletes aren’t even interested in hooping anymore, say the retirees. This rhetoric picked up speed after the players protested against the new 65-game policy the league set in motion this year. In response, the media and old heads have brutally slammed the players for their cribbing, something even Charles Barkley joined in on recently.

Appearing on NFL legend Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, ‘Club Shay Shay’, the former Phoenix Suns player recently went in on the current batch of players and their ‘load management ways’.

“I am disappointed in these guys today with this load management. I said, ‘Yo man, first of all, we’re not teachers, we’re not nurses, we’re not in the service…we play a stupid basketball game for three or four days a week. ‘” 

Moving forward, Charles called out the current batch of players for ignoring their duties as athletes, despite making millions. Furthering his point, Barkley compared the current situation to that of yesteryear, when legends like Bill Russell played for just $3000 a season. 

“They played those games for $3000 a year…Of course, you are sore; I am pretty sure the doctor and nurses are sore too,” said Barkley 

The league has also kicked back at the whole load management system, bringing in the 65-game rule for NBA awards this year. While the NBPA raised objections against the new law, the owners and the league aren’t ready to ease up on regulations just yet. Barkley and his peers don’t see what’s wrong, “just play basketball”, they say. 

To be fair to Barkley, his point does seem to make sense. While his words likely don’t do justice to how difficult it is to be a professional athlete, players do seem to shirk their responsibilities a bit. With ‘the Chuckster’ never having liked this aspect of the NBA today, it is no surprise his statement is of the harsh variety.

Charles Barkley has never liked load management 

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The whole load management fiasco started with the San Antonio Spurs. While the medical staff on teams often rested players, it was never done to prevent non-serious injuries from possibly becoming worse.

No one purposefully sat until Gregg Popovich started resting his stars even when healthy, a strategy which caught on and is now associated with his protégé Kawhi Lenord.

The Spurs legend took his talents back home in 2020, signing with the Clippers, where he tried to pull the same tricks in LA. On one occasion, he even did it to sit out a back-to-back contest that saw them matched up against Giannis and The Milwaukee Bucks.

Inside The NBA panelist, Charles Barkley wasn’t having it. Calling Kawhi out for not playing when he is completely healthy, Charles further said,

“They are clearly not going to play him back-to-back. That’s all they gotta say. I respect that. But he didn’t get better since last night.” 

Four years removed from his statements about Kawhi, Barkley still believes that load management is not acceptable. A former player, Charles, understands that if a player is hurt, he has to rest. But talking to the players who sit out games while healthy, Leonard had a singular piece of advice: “Shut the hell up and play.”.

True to form, ‘The Chuckster’ never seems to relent.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

About the author

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher is a writer at The Sports Rush. A lawyer by education, Trikansh has always been around sports. As a young track athlete Trikansh was introduced to basketball through 'street ball' mixtapes. He was hooked and it has been 'ball is life' ever since. Trikansh is a designer by profession, but couldn't keep away from basketball. A regular on the blacktop, his love for the game goes further than just hooping. If Trikansh isn't going through box scores for last night's game, you can find him in his studio working on his designs or playing squash at the local club.

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