NBA veteran Charles Barkley believes that the 2021 NBA champion should not be overlooked because of many injuries during the playoffs.
The Phoenix Suns clinched a berth in the NBA Finals this year for the first time since 1993. The team finished as the second seed in the stacked western conference and followed it up with great performances in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Barkley was the focal point of the Suns the last time they were in the NBA Finals. The Arizona team was the top seed in the NBA with a franchise record of 62 wins in the 1992-93 season.
Sir Charles, as he is fondly called, was crowned the 1992-93 NBA MVP. The 11x NBA All-Star averaged 25 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 1.0 BPG on 52.0% shooting from the field.
However, despite having home-court advantage, the Suns lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in six games. Bulls became the first team to 3-peat that year since the Celtics in the 1960s.
Several years later, while talking about the 1993 NBA Finals, Barkley said that one of the major reasons for their loss in 1993 was the lack of aggression.
As the Phoenix Suns face the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals. Many people in the media and on the internet have been blaming the injuries during the playoffs, which has resulted in the above teams getting a free pass in the NBA Finals.
Charles Barkley shuts down the critics for disregarding the Bucks and Suns spot in the 2021 NBA Finals
The former MVP feels that the 2021 NBA championship should not be disregarded because of injuries in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
“We don’t put an asterisk by the Toronto Raptors because (Golden State) didn’t have KD (Kevin Durant) and Klay Thompson (in the 2019 Finals), do we?
“So anybody who thinks that just don’t know — I mean, c’mon. That’s crazy. Seriously. The Golden State Warriors won the championship (in 2015) with no Kyrie (Irving) and Kevin Love (for Cleveland), and we don’t put an asterisk on them, do we?” said Barkley.
There is no denying that Barkley has a valid point and that the fans cannot be nitpicking just because the situation does not suit them.
An interesting point here is that Phoenix star Chris Paul missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals while in COVID-19 protocols. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks missed the last two games of the ECF due to a hyperextended knee.
Talking with Suns legend Charles Barkley about Phoenix’s return to the Finals stage: On the Chris Paul comparison to his career, the asterisk debate, Michael Jordan memories and more, at @TheAthletic https://t.co/OlAYAlfiUK pic.twitter.com/eINKaX6fwy
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 7, 2021
Though, Barkley is right when he makes the above point. However, during the 2020 Orlando Bubble, Barkley was critical of the LA Lakers winning the championship as he was quoted saying, “Bubble championship does not count.”
The Phoenix veteran is often known to change his statements and can come across as hypocritical at times.