Charles Barkley is soooooo relieved that the National Basketball Association has found it in its heart to be kinder and gentler on today's players by making them play fewer back-to-backs.
Speaking from an athletic forum at SMU, Barkley said he is "so angry at the NBA" for creating a lighter schedule for its players to try and promote rest and reduce wear-and-tear. For the upcoming season, back-to-backs have been reduced to 14.4 per team, down from 16.3 last season, per USA Today.
"You know, these poor babies can't play back-to-back games", Barkley said. They're making $20-, $30-, $40 million a year. Also, teams will no longer play four games in five nights, thanks to the NBA's decision to start the season a week earlier. At $40 million a year, we can't stress 'em out. What makes it a more prominent topic in his eyes is that it's a complete change in thought process from when he played in the National Basketball Association where the thought of sitting out games wasn't discussed or implemented.
"The private jets and four-star hotels aren't enough". "You know they're only going to get to see you one time a year in some of these situations and you would think a guy was like, 'you know, they're only going to see me one time a year, I'm going to play in that city'".
"We flew commercial and we were able to play back-to-back". "I've [talked] with older guys who took trains to play three days in a row". The NBA caved in, instead of making them play back-to-back games.
He said "the notion" that today's players "want to rest is insane to me" and said players are being disrespectful to fans when they decide to sit out a game, especially when that game is the only time a team will visit a particular city.
". And it's sad, to be honest with you".