Charles Barkley, You Just Don’t Get It

barkley_mug_bnI can’t leave it alone. I know that the chances of him reading this aren’t great, but it is the vehicle I have. Preparing to watch the Cavs play Portland last night, I flipped on the TNT coverage and sat down to the computer for a liveblog. The studio crew started their routine and I was only about half paying attention- until Mo Williams’ interview. They asked Cleveland’s point guard about coming to the Cavs from Milwaukee and his experience. Mo gave his answer about being excited to play for a chance at a title, which you would expect. They cut back to the studio where Charles Barkley decides he needs to make a point. Here is the comment he made-

“If you want to swap the people in Cleveland and Milwaukee, they’d be the same dreary-a** city.”

Laughter erupts from Chris Webber, while Ernie Johnson tries to salvage the situation. But Barkley couldn’t just let it go. Ernie informs Charles that he was born in Milwaukee and it is a very nice city, to which Barkley agrees. Ernie then tries to stick up for Cleveland saying there is nothing wrong with Cleveland, to which Barkley replies-

“Oh yes it is. If you live there. There’s nothing happening in Cleveland other than the Indians. They’ve got LeBron James who is spectacular, but there is no reason to live in Cleveland. That’s why they call it the mistake by the lake. They didn’t call it that for no reason Ernie.”

They went on to discuss LeBron and the MVP debate, which I hoped would be the end of it. It was for a while. After talking about the Hawks game, He pestered Ernie some more about leaving Milwaukee, and they mercifully went to commercial.

Where do you start? I’ve never been to Milwaukee, so I don’t know how similar that city is to Cleveland. I can only speak about Cleveland. Several things bother me about these statements. The first is the unspoken sentiment that nobody with intelligence would choose to live in northeast Ohio. Well, believe it or not some do. We aren’t backwards, or unemployed. We are perfectly capable of finding employment somewhere else. (As much as the next guy anyway in this economy.)

The second thing that bugs me is that there is ‘nothing going on here.’ I suppose to a pampered and spoiled celebrity there may not be as many places willing to look past your absurd behavior. There aren’t any casinos to rack up ridiculous gambling debts that you don’t pay back. But hey, it looks like they will keep trying to get a bill passed. This time Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is getting involved, so maybe the bill will pass and you can come visit us. And I suppose there isn’t enough prostitution here in Cleveland for you. Of course, if the casino issue passes, who knows?

Even your jail time doesn’t seem to have made any kind of impact on you.

See Charles, when you choose to live in Cleveland, perhaps it is because you realize all that other stuff doesn’t really make you happy. Just maybe you understand that time spent with family and friends is more valuable than time spent at a black jack table, or with some woman you don’t even know. It’s a shame really. It’s a shame that you have a platform. It’s a shame that you can’t see past the superficial junk. And it’s a shame that companies like T-Mobile and TNT continue to put your mug in front of the world

I understand that your DUI was a mistake as you call it. I understand that we all make mistakes. Myself included. I also understand that you are entitled to your opinion, and to voice that opinion. But I’m also inclined, and allowed to have a different one. And this is how and where I can respond. I’d love to talk to you about our city. But it won’t do any good will it Charles? You will probably never get it.

  • mike

    well i wouldnt know. what i do know is youre making broad generalizations that are not accurate. look – im not delusional. ive lived in cleveland and ive lived elsewhere (ny and florida) to name a few. also lived in europe for a short time.
    im well aware where cleveland ranks on the “excitement” scale. i never said nor believed that cleveland is the greatest city in the world – its far from it. however, it has nearly anything you want to do within reason, at a reasonable price. columbus is light years ahead of cleveland in college bars and atmosphere, but far behind in sophisticated bars and restaurants. columbus doesnt even have anywhere close to the number of outstanding ethnic cuisine that cleveland offers.
    pittsburgh is a great city – ive always enjoyed my time there. they may be a step ahead of cleveland, but thats it.

  • An Insider

    All of you are overlooking a very important issue regarding Charles. He is an addict. He is addicted to gambling, alcohol and probably sex. He lives for the moment with no regard for anyone but himself, as most addicts do. He may be the single most insecure person I know. He lies non-stop and relies on the accolades of those around him. It is actually pretty sad. It is safe to say that he is a product of his upbringing (or lack thereof) and continues to try to prove to whomever will pay attention that he still “has” it. He has a wife and a daughter and they are both very solid citizens. His remarks regarding Cleveland were no different than anything else he says that is off color. He said it for attention. He thrives on it. The man needs help. Pray for him. I think his story is going to end tragically.