Former NBA star Charles Barkley is taking criticism after attacking Kevin Durant for “trying to cheat his way into a championship” with his recent signing with the Golden State Warriors even as Barkley himself welcomed a trade to the Rockets to make a stab at earning a championship ring of his own at the end of his career.
Barkley made his comments during the Wednesday edition of ESPN’s Mike and Mike Show where he was heard criticizing Durant for jumping to the Warriors. Perhaps sensing his own vulnerability on the topic, Barkley also immediately jumped to defend his own record.
“I got traded to Houston. I never wanted to leave Phoenix,” Barkley said. “We’re talking about a guy who is 27 years old who has led the league in scoring, probably four out of the last five years, who is a former MVP. I think that’s a little bit different than a guy who is 37 years old, like myself, getting traded to Houston when I couldn’t play anymore. I don’t think that’s comparable.”
“Kevin Durant is trying to cheat his way into a championship.”
– Charles Barkley pic.twitter.com/vf6hUC1TI6
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) July 6, 2016
But even as Barkley accused Durant of chasing a championship, he himself has been quoted in the past saying he was doing the same thing.
As Yahoo! Sports notes, back in 1996 the Philadelphia Inquirer featured a quote from Barkley about his move to Houston.
“I’m very excited,” he told two Philly TV stations. “Obviously, it’s something I wanted to do. Houston was my first priority.”
And a perfect fit, Barkley said.
“At this stage of my career, I’m not a great player. I’m a good player,” he said. “But with Hakeem and Clyde, I have a great shot at a championship.”
Clearly in 1996 Barkley felt his move to the Rockets would help him finally win that championship ring. Just as clearly he was happy to be chasing a championship.
Despite his hopeful outlook in 1996, though, Barkley would never go on to win a championship of his own.
Barkley took some criticism for his comments on Durant. For instance, Jordan Heck at Sporting News wondered, “So what’s the harm in Durant doing everything in his power to do something Barkley never could?”
Heck also said Barkley’s criticism was “unfair” to Durant.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.