Et tu Barkley?

I grew up idolizing Charles Barkley when he was a member of the Suns. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t view him as a role model. After his famous commercial I was too afraid he’d beat me up if I did . That was the point of the ad, right? But I did love what he brought to the court and the opinions he shared with the media.

He was the guy who looked at the world in a different way and wasn’t afraid to call things the way he saw them. As an 11-year-old who could have been known as the Round Mound of the Playground (not because of basketball skills, but purely based on waist size) there was something mesmerizing and freeing about an attitude like that. Although, I failed to realize a kid with no money or power couldn’t exactly speak his mind.

Well, now I’m an adult and I’m paid to do just that – although I’m still trying to find the money and power part of the equation – and it’s time to exercise that freedom.

There is a scene in the Godfather where Michael Corleone tells his beloved older brother Fredo “I love you, but don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.” Now is my ‘Godfather moment’ with my childhood idol.

See, Thursday night, as part of TNT’s pregame show, the Suns’ legend did what he does best. He said something that caught people off guard. Barkley told EJ, Kenny and Shaq he didn’t think Steve Nash was worthy of his All-Star selection and that the Rockets’ Kyle Lowry should have replaced him on the West roster.

Wait, what? That’s almost as surprising as the “before” and “after” shots of Chuck’s impressive weight loss.

Nash is leading the league in assists, is third in field-goal percentage and has seven games of 20 or more points and nine or more assists. Oh, and he’s doing it all at the age of 38 years old.

Lowry? He’s ninth in assists (averaging 2.5 fewer assists than Nash) and he’s not in the top 106 players in field-goal percentage. As for 20 or more points and nine or more assist games? He has nine, in his entire seven year NBA career (four this season).

Then add in the fact that Nash is the oldest player in league history to record a 30+ point and 10+ assist game, is only the fourth player in history to make the All-Star Game at 38 and he’s on his way to becoming the first point guard since John Stockton in 1987-88 to shoot better than 55 percent for a season. Sorry Chuck, but you’ve got a better chance of convincing me Dane Cook is on the same level as George Carlin than Nash is not deserving of being an all-star.

Oh, the record argument? Sure, the Rockets have a better record than the Suns do right now but head to head on Thursday Nash out-played Lowry. Plus, in this truncated season, records are tough to take into consideration. That, and it’s called All-STAR not all-team, so the annual exhibition game is about individual players not team accomplishments.

In the end, Sir Charles, I love you but don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Mostly because, fans in Phoenix care for you too much to have to disagree with you like this.


Reader Mail

This is the section of the Retorter’s Notebook where I answer readers’ emails or at least try to.

Name: Paul Jenkins

Why isn’t Grant Hill given more time to rest? He looks tired. Are we at the point when the Suns realize they should be over the Hill?

Thanks for the question Paul. Since I haven’t been named to the coaching staff, I can’t speak to the decisions made on the bench. (Alvin, I’m ready. I can be the social media assistant. I’d look great next to Thunder Dan on the bench. You know my extension.)

But let’s be honest. Why should Alvin and the staff rest him even more? He’s playing the fewest minutes per game of his career. He’s still averaging solid numbers but, it’s what doesn’t show up in the box score that makes him most valuable. He’s still like Optimus Prime, one of the best defenders. On a nightly basis he is guarding the other team’s best guy.

Paul, your email reminds me of a scene from the movie Airplane that just happened to star basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar (better known to Suns fans as, Tails in the 1969 Coin Toss).

Paul: Grant doesn’t even run down court. And that Grant doesn’t really try… except during the playoffs.

Espo: I’ve been hearing that junk for years. Grant’s out there busting his buns every night. You try dragging Dirk and Kobe up and down the court for 48 minutes.

Grant isn’t over the hill, but we’re over this week’s Retorter’s Notebook.

Want your questions answered? Submit them here and Espo may answer them.

About Greg Esposito

Hi, my name is Greg Esposito, my friends call me Espo and I’m a Phoenix Suns-aholic. I also happen to be the team's Social Media Specialist as well as one of the online content creators. You'll find my sarcastic musings here on Blog.Suns.com as the Suns Retorter.

  • Jeane Campbll

    Get over it Charles, you had your turn now let Steve have his. We all love you but you are yesterday and Steve is today. Congrats Steve, and thanks to Grant Hill he does his share and more. JC

  • Kevin

    Nice article. His nickname was the “Round Mound of Rebound.”

  • Michael

    With a golf swing like Sir Charles, he should be the last to go pointing fingers..

  • DAN PYNE

    listen charles…there are a lot of deserving players..josh smith for one..would be a great player to have in the all star game because of his athletic ability..is he a great player as a whole..probably not but the all star game is all about the fans and what they want to see..nash provides acrobatic passes and lets the real stars shine…i don’t think lowry would know how to do that quite like nash!!

  • Gus

    Nicely done Greg…we all know who CB34 was on the court a we all know who he is on the tv studio…we all know how his career started and (painfully) where and how it ended, there is no doubt in my mind that a little bit of jealousy is showing here, ’cause, you know Chuck, once he retires (and we hope is ten years from now) Nash is going to be the best Suns player EVER! i mean, you’re not going to get even close: the class, the numbers, the inspiring battles, the way HE puts the T in team…sorry mound, sadly, you have one undisputed trophy: one of a clown

  • http://www.arrobajunior.com Samuel Arroba Junior

    Perfect article!
    Nash still a best guard! Allstar game is for STARS, and I love his dimmes.
    This game is for Nash!

  • http://none.com Bob Joe

    Steve Nash is the best point guard in the history of basketball.

  • NickFL

    Wow, I love Charles also.. and I think he would respect my opinion but yeah he dropped the damn ball on this one. Nash deserves on numbers alone. Come on Charles.. what are you thinking?