Charles Barkley’s one of my all-time favorite basketball players ever. But he’s also one of my favorite entertainers ever, too. (NOTE: I don’t count him as a basketball analyst — most of the stuff he says is completely ignorant, and utterly irrelevant. The ignorant stuff drives me nuts, unfortunately. The utterly irrelevant verbiage makes me laugh my ass off. The second one is better. Therefore, I consider Chuck an entertainer.)
While talking about the Washington Wizards/Cleveland Cavaliers first round NBA playoffs series yesterday, Chuck said, “I think the Washington Wizards have got to be the dumbest team in the history of civilization,” regarding the Wiz Kids’ remarks towards LeBron James as being overrated. See, when I first read the quote on ESPN.com, I said aloud — in my very decent Barkley voice — the said quote. I chuckled, chortled, and nearly choked worse than the New England Patriots while I was trying to drink water.
I don’t know if he’s meaning to be funny or completely serious. Perhaps a confluence of one another. Either way, he’s right. DeShawn Stevenson has talked dirty words towards players around the league the whole year (or am I disillusioned?), especially LeBron James. And Gilbert Arenas has been writing some nasty smack on his blog the whole season, as well. Especially when the All Star game was rolling around. Great stuff from Gil, but now that he’s back on the court, and they’re playing the Cavs in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the third straight year, it’s kind of like three times a charm: LeBron’s going to go freakin’ crazy and instill magic upon the Wizards this season. Not saying he hasn’t done it in the past, I’m just musing the possibilities of what happened last year.
Speaking of what happened last year: I don’t know if the Wizards have short term memory or what, but while they were sitting at home watching the James Gang take on the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they must’ve missed the mockery that LeBron made of Detroit when he scored, what (without looking it up), 36 points in the 4th and overtime combined? If he did that to a Pistons’ defense that had the poise of steady piranhas, imagine the destruction he could evoke on the Wizards come playoff time.
I’m a huge fan of Gilbert Arenas, but I can damn-well see this happening, easily, in one of the games:
LeBron James handles the basketball, as the Cavs are leading the Wizards by four with 54.1 seconds left in regulation. Controlling the ball, draining time off of the regulation clock and shot clock, LeBron looks to put the ball game away. Not looking for a teammate to handle the ball or even drive to the basket, James speed dribbles to the right wing with Wizards’ Arenas and Stevenson on his tail. LeBron pulls up with an out-of-nowhere 3 (remember when he did that to the Knicks earlier this year?) and nails it, putting the Cavs up 7 with 48.5 seconds left in the game, virtually putting this contest out of the way!
Believe it. Witness. Whatever the hell Cleveland fans like to put up on a billboard in their city. Barkley says, “you don’t want to make LeBron mad.” And Washington should know that. But, like children who don’t learn their lesson the first two times they’re spanked, it’s time for reinforcement and affirmation.