History will show I’ve generally tried to make this website a pro-beef space. James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo getting feisty over the MVP race? Very enjoyable. Chris Paul shimmying in Steph Curry’s face after a huge three in the West Finals? Sign me up! Draymond Green continuing his oddly personal blood feud with Charles Barkley during a pandemic? Actually, this is where I draw the line.
Green continued to add some spice to his long simmering beef with Barkley, going on Matt Barnes’s and Stephen Jackson’s All the Smoke, podcast this month, living up to the name of the enterprise and going in on Barkley.
“It’s jealousy that somebody the same as him or smaller can come in the league and have the success I’ve had, made the money I’ve made, win the championships I’ve won,” Green said, later adding, “He scored more points than me, ‘ight cool, but that don’t necessarily mean you had more impact on the game than me.”
The origin of this back-and-forth is now years old. Barkley has always been critical of the Warriors, and Green in particular, saying once before he would like to punch him in the face. The duel reached a fever pitch this season, with the Chuckster routinely poking fun at Dray and Golden State’s struggles before the season suspension, prompting Green to respond by saying he could take Barkley’s job.
If this all sounds very silly and totally inconsequential, it’s because it’s exactly that. I enjoy both Green and Barkley personally, specifically because of their lack of filter, but seeing two players of their stature go back and forth for no good reason is growing a little tiresome.
First of all, if any two players should get along, it’s Barkley and Draymond! They are both undersized guys who maximized their talents in unorthodox ways. They should have a unique kinship, not a mutual dislike. Barkley obviously entered the league with a lot more hype than Green, but both made their impact on the game seemingly through sheer determination. Barkley was a 6’6” power forward who could outrebound taller players at his position, then fly down the court and finish violently in the lane. Green is a 6’6” center who could initiate offense and unlock one of the best lineups in NBA history because of his ability to guard centers and defensive tenacity. These players are an extension of each other, they shouldn’t be enemies.
Secondly, Green citing rings in his argument with Barkley is hilariously out of line. It’s a common refrain for people beefing with Chuck, and it’s mind-numbing every time. Barkley won an MVP and went toe-to-toe with Michael Jordan in a Finals series on a team he carried. Green is an immensely valuable player and he’s earned all of his accolades, but he’ll never achieve that level of personal success.
But that’s not to say Barkley is off the hook. His constant bickering with players from the current generation is a bad look. Inside the NBA is a very fun show. What it lacks in NBA analysis it makes up for in hijinks, comfort, and nostalgia. I’m not really watching for Kenny’s Pictures, I’m watching to see my old friends goof around. The issues arise when the panel insists on seeing the game through their old-school mentality. Barkley has never been able to appreciate the Warriors, and he of all people should be celebrating a player like Draymond instead of constantly denigrating him. It’s a failure that so many of Barkley’s generation somehow don’t understand the modern NBA, and that results in too many unwarranted criticisms. It’s easy to see why guys like Dray are finally starting to fight back.
I’m not going to pretend like all fighting in the world is going to end because of this pandemic. At the same time, during a global crisis seems like a really good time for two famous NBA players to finally bury the hatchet! Fortunately, there’s a very easy way for Draymond and Charles to turn this situation into a positive. All they have to do is jump on a Zoom call, turn into a fundraiser of some sort, and they can settle their disagreements like adults while helping others. Barkley once said Green was the least famous person in the boy band, so maybe they can even sing an NSYNC song together.
It’s simply time for Chuck and Dray to end this whole tête-à-tête. Long ago it veered away from an on-court discussion to two guys desperate to get the last word trading increasingly personal jabs for no reason. As much as drama is a critical part of enjoying the NBA, neither Barkley’s nor Green’s arguments seem to have any basis in reality. As long as they keep going down this path, nobody—not them, not us—wins.