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Barkley Expounds on Golf, the NBA & His Swing Issues
Charles Barkley and his love of golf have gone undiminished, even though he's saddled with one of the saddest swings in the game.
The NBA Hall of Fame member and one of basketball's brightest TV analysts will be playing again in the American Century Championship, an annual event that features some big-name sports stars vying for a $600,000 purse alongside magnificent Lake Tahoe.
Despite his well-televised travails at hitting a golf ball - no doubt debilitated by a spasmodic swing that noted instructor Hank Haney tried valiantly but couldn't remedy on his Golf Channel "Haney Project" show, Barkley remains hard-core in his golfing heart.
The 51-year-old "Round Mound of Rebound" - one of the sharpest wits in all of sports and the best - if not only - reason to follow the interminable NBA season, will be teeing it up at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, Nev. The sun-splashed American Century Championship, with the boats bobbing in the vast lake alongside lush fairways, is again being played at the height of summer, July 15-20.
In previous go-rounds there, coupled with his televised carnage at other golf courses, Barkley has endeared fellow hackers with his yip-electrified swing, one that starts out fine but on the downswing quickly devolves into a halting - as in a total halt - move spurred by one of the biggest brain-freezes ever seen.
It's amazing Barkley can even move the ball ahead with all the fits and starts in his novella of a swing.
Still, in sports parlance, he's a gamer. Most other players would recede into the back room woodwork of the clubhouse following such embarrassingly crappy shots. But Charles stays in charge and presses on.
Barkley's love of golf is enduring, and endearing, even though he's coping with a mental malady that would send most everyone else toward something safer, perhaps knitting with extra-fat needles and thick leather gloves.
On Tuesday during a presser, Barkley was not speaking as the pre-tournament favorite but as a dyed-in-the-wool hacker who wouldn't miss the American Century Championship for the world, regardless of the certainty of suffering yet more public humiliation.
"Obviously, I've got some issues," admitted Barkley of his challenges to play golf with a modicum of mediocrity. "But, hey, as I tell people, there's worse things at life than sucking at golf."
Barkley's exuberance in giving it yet another go at Lake Tahoe is reminiscent of the late, equally incompetent, annually emasculated actor-golf amateur Jack Lemmon at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
We all should be inspired by Barkley, a powerful ally in the industry's quest to find golfers who don't buy into the ideas that the game is too hard, takes too long and is too expensive. Despite such challenges, they love it anyhow. There's no doubt that "Sir Charles," the large man from Alabama and one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History," is smitten through and through.
Barkley had a lot to say Tuesday about next month's American Century Championship. Also on hand for the presser were fellow entrants - and much better golfers - actor Jack Wagner and retired NHL star Jeremy Roenick.
The three guys talked about the tournament, their chances at victory (slim in Barkley's case), Donald Sterling, the match-up in the NBA Championship between the two-time defending champions Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, going against a woman - the retired Annika Sorenstam and, what else, some smack talk. Here's what Barkley, Wagner and Roenick said in their fun-filled session with the media.
CHARLES BARKLEY: You know what, this is the first thing I put on my schedule every year. I look forward to it, to seeing all the guys, number one, it's great hanging out with all the guys throughout the week playing golf, just having fun with the guys. I get to play with a couple of different jocks every day or actors, which is fun, guys you would never play golf with in your normal life.
And I end up - one year I played with Dennis Miller, which we don't travel in the same circles. One year I played with Craig T. Nelson. He was a blast to play with. I always look forward to playing with Kevin Nieland. Last year I hurt my shoulder, couldn't play, but I was going to play with Larry the Cable Guy. I walked anyway. Had a blast. The people at Tahoe, they're fantastic. I just like the people in that area. And it's going to be another fun week. I can't wait.
JACK WAGNER: Quit dropping names: You suck, Charles.
CHARLES BARKLEY: At least I know I suck. (Laughter).
JEREMY ROENICK: I want to know, are you going to play lefty or righty this year, that's what I want to know.
CHARLES BARKLEY: Every morning I wake up it's a coin flip whether I'm going to play lefty or righty. So I don't know the answer to that question yet.
JACK WAGNER: You brought up wrinkles earlier. Now was that a cut to me? (Laughter) I'm just wondering. On camera recently, was that about me? You said wrinkles. I want you to know I heard that, buddy.
JEREMY ROENICK: That's okay. I'm five years out of the National Hockey League right now. Wrinkles are a part of I think all of our lives. So I'll just leave that with an open interpretation.
Q. I'd like to ask Charles. Charles, what did you think of the $2 billion price tag for the Clippers?
CHARLES BARKLEY: I think what happened - I want to congratulate Mr. Balmer. And we needed to get Donald Sterling out of the NBA. He shouldn't be an owner in the NBA. But I think what happens.
JEREMY ROENICK: Amen to that Charles. Amen to that.
CHARLES BARKLEY: What I think happened - and I obviously heard some things behind the scenes. They new the bidding was going to be a billion dollars, a billion one, billion two. But I think there was a bid that came in, from what I'm hearing, like a billion three. So I think what Balmer did, he just said I'm not taking any chances. Because think about it, if you bid a billion and someone bid a billion one and a billion two and a billion three, you would hate to lose on that type of money.
But I think he just didn't take any chances. He just said here's two billion, blew everybody out the water. That's just my personal opinion. But I knew they had like three or four bids starting at like a billion, a billion one, and I think the other one was a billion three. And I think Balmer just didn't want to take any chances. But the bottom line is, man, I'm glad Donald Sterling is out of the NBA. I'm happy for these players.
Q. Charles, I know you saw a lot of the Oklahoma City Thunder the past few years. Had a couple of Thunder questions. What does the Thunder need to take to get to take that final step to get back into the NBA Finals? And Kevin Durant, do you think he did enough in the playoffs?
CHARLES BARKLEY: I think you guys are very fortunate to have Kevin Durant, he's only the second best basketball player in the world. I think the one criticism I've had of KD, and I've had it the last three years, he's got to learn how to post up, because they put little guys on him, whether it's Tony Allen, a great defender, Chris Paul guarded him in the last series. They had Kawhi Leonard and Ginobili guarding him and Danny Green. If he would have had post up his game, he would make those guys irrelevant. They would have to have doubled him on the balls. Getting the ball out on the floor, greatest scorer as he is, they make him take difficult shots. He's a difficult shot maker.
Until Oklahoma get a low post scorer, they're not going to win. I told you that three years ago when you all played for the Finals, you're never going to beat Miami or a really good team until you find a way to get some easy baskets. As great as Kevin is, and as great as Russell is, the game always slows down. And the offense in the half court is not very good. Russell and Kevin have to do a lot in the half court. Until they get a legitimate post scorer they're going to win a bunch of games because they've got two of the ten best players in the world. But, like I say, I've been telling you guys this for three years, you all better pay attention, you better get a low post scorer at some point because the game is going to slow down and you've got to have a guy who can get you an easy basket and they don't have that right now.
Q. Should the Thunder amnesty Perkins?
CHARLES BARKLEY: That's not up to my decision, to be honest with you. I can't just give away people money. But they gotta find a way to get some low post scoring and they've got to improve their bench their bench is awful. Especially when they moved Reggie Jackson to the starting lineup, they had no scoring coming off the bench.
Q. You both have friendships and obviously some competition with Michael Jordan. I just wanted to ask you about sort of his competitive side and how you guys have experienced that over the years?
JEREMY ROENICK: Can I answer that first? So my answer to that is there's not many competitors in the world like Michael Jordan, except for Charles and I, who are on this call with you right now. And whether Michael comes this year to the tournament or not - we're not quite sure - but for me I love to beat Michael anytime I can possibly do it. I know Charles is the same, whether it's in basketball, whether it's in golf or whether it's playing gin rummy, I'm going to beat him every time I get the opportunity. And Charles will come right around with my sentiments.
CHARLES BARKLEY: I think anytime you play against - that's what sports is, is competition. I mean, that's all it is. It's about you competing against other people. And, listen, I look at golf a little bit different. I golf and fish, those are the only two places I can get peace and quiet. I love being out there. Being in Lake Tahoe, that's a bonus. But I love being on the golf course with three of my friends, drinking some beer, smoking cigars. Nobody wants pictures. Nobody wants autographs.
I play golf pretty much every single day, I love it. But Lake Tahoe is obviously a unique situation. I would love to be better at golf. I would love to compete in this thing and have a chance to win, but obviously I've got some issues, but, hey, as I tell people, there's worse things at life than sucking at golf.
JEREMY ROENICK: Let me expand on Charles, also, because I've played with Charles when he played great golf, and I've seen him play really good golf. It doesn't matter what he does on the golf course. What matters is the attitude of what this tournament brings to the people that come to watch.This is one of the biggest weekends, if not the biggest weekend, in Tahoe. And a lot of it is because of guys like Charles and probably because of Charles, because of the way he sees things.
And I wish more athletes would have the same opinion and the same mindset that Charles has right now, because that's what makes things like this work with the American Century. And American Century has done a great job of promoting this. But guys like Charles and myself and Michael and all that stuff that bring people to Tahoe to have that really close relationship that they will not get anywhere else.
And you don't have people of the stature of a Charles Barkley that are going to reach out and do this because they love it the way they do it with American Century. And I think that's the difference in why this has been so big for so many years.
Q. Charles, the 1984 draft documentary is coming out. Just wonder what your thoughts are about that draft and did Michael Jordan keep a lot of you guys from winning championships that you might have otherwise won?
CHARLES BARKLEY: It's an honor and a privilege to be part of that draft. I don't consider losing to Michael Jordan the greatest player in the NBA history. I mean, I don't even think it was just Michael, it was a time you've got to go back - that was like the Magic Johnson Larry Bird, we lost to the Celtics and the Lakers. So Magic, Michael and Larry three of the ten greatest players ever. Not a bad era to be in. So I look at it, it would have been great to win a championship, we just weren't good enough. But losing to the Celtics, the Lakers and the Bulls, I don't think you can say - I don't think you can go crazy over that.
MODERATOR: Tournament odds: Jack is 7 to 1 behind Annika 2 to 1 to win the tournament. Jeremy Roenick 7 to 1. Charles ended up at 501 to 1, FYI. But, Jack, can you give us your perspective on Annika playing in the tournament and how that changes the competitive landscape.
JACK WAGNER: I think it elevates the competitive landscape. I think the guys that have a chance to win now it's not about sort of trying to get it in at the end, to try to gut it out, now you know you're going to have a seasoned probably greatest LPGA player of all time. Maybe a little rusty, but probably hitting balls as we speak, getting prepared for this. And she's going to probably shoot, in my opinion, I don't know what J.R. or Charles thinks, but she'll probably be anywhere from 3 to 4 to 7 under par, probably not making many mistakes if she putts well. And that's the number I think anybody who has a chance to win this, I think there's probably 15 guys if they play well can win, and that's what I think it is.
So I think she's for sure the favorite, because she won't have any wrecks. I know I'm capable of a wreck. I've played with J.R. He's capable. But I just don't see her making a lot of mistakes, that's probably why she's a favorite. She'll be playing the tees we'll play. She won't be as long clearly as Jeremy. He hits it a mile and I'm not nearly as long as he is, but I think it's an unbelievably good idea to have her in this event. If I wasn't playing here, I'd tune in to watch her and see how she would compete against players that play in this event.
I think it's a great idea, and I think it's only going to elevate everyone's play. And I also want to reiterate what Jeremy said about Charles. This tournament, really the foundation of this tournament, I think, that started way back in the early '90s and mid '90s.And it is personalities like Charles that is, flawed with his golf came, he's self deprecating, but you know the ability to laugh at himself and I think Jeremy's like that, too, the ability to do that is what draws in the audience. And it's that kind of charm and charisma that this event has that PGA Tours don't have, which is why I think NBC is truly behind this, American Century is behind this. That's what we come up here for. It's a huge weekend for all of us. If we can't laugh at ourselves we've missed the real joke, and Charles is the leader of that. So big thanks to him and J.R.
CHARLES BARKLEY: What a really cool thing about this press conference today is, the only thing going to be in big headlines tomorrow is Jack Wagner calling Annika rusty. (Laughter) You know how reporters are today, that's the first thing. They're not going to talk about anything that Jack Wagner said. Annika's not going to win because she's rusty.
JACK WAGNER: That's her nickname, I just nicknamed her Rusty, that's all.
Q. Charles, after the game the other night in Oklahoma City, Tim Duncan stepped out of character, at least some of us thought he did when he said: We've got four more to win and we'll do it this time. Sounded like a guarantee to some of us. And Timmy's never come out like that in terms of expressing himself that way. I just thought what were your impressions of that comment? Do you think it will back fire, help, hurt, whatever, because sounded like he was trying to get a TV job?
CHARLES BARKLEY: You know what, honestly to be honest with you, it was really - I thought it was really cool. He's the greatest power forward ever in my opinion. I think they know that they gave away the championship last year. To be honest with you, I think Tim Duncan wants to retire. I actually - this is my opinion - I think if he had won a championship last year, he would have retired. And I think he wants to win a championship this year so he can retire.
So I think he is just trying to motivate himself, to be honest with you. Because like we all as players want to leave - that to me would be like the ultimate leaving on a championship. And I do, like I say, I'm just guessing, I think he would have retired if he would have won the championship last year. And I think he wants to win a championship and go out. I think that would be, first of all, that would be amazing. We haven't seen it since John Elway.
But, man, the Spurs are the best organization in the NBA. They've got the best coach. They've got the best point guard. To me the series is going to come down to Tony Parker, because Tim is going to play well. I'm not even concerned about that. Because Miami can't handle big guys down low but to me the kid's going to beat Tony Parker, and I don't know what's going on with that. They're keeping that really tight to the vest. I would like to see him on a basketball court in the next 48 hours. I do. I want to see him on the basketball court. I'm a little concerned that I've not seen him on the court or them talking about him practicing.
I want to see it. I don't want to hear these reports that he's good to go for Game 1. I want to see him playing some basketball, because I don't see a guy missing a closeout game for just a normal unless something's seriously wrong with him, to be honest with you. That was a closeout game. It was only a seven point game at halftime. And he had played 19 minutes in the first half. I'm really concerned about Tony's health. I think that's going to be the key.
Q. Do you think that the Duncan already LeBron's commented well: We know they don't like us, judging from their comments. Do you think that whole thing with what Tim said is going to spark it to even greater heights in the Finals?
CHARLES BARKLEY: I actually thought it was funny. LeBron James is such a nice guy. I thought his response was equivalent to him shouting back at Tim Duncan. He's such a nice guy, he's never going to raise his voice. I thought his little comeback at Tim was like him being as mad as he could actually get. Have a great summer; find a coach sometime soon.
Q. Chuck, when you look at the Timberwolves, I heard you on ESPN radio recently, looking at Kevin Love, saying he handled that situation the best he could. How do you see that ending, and what do you think the Timberwolves need to get in replace for him? I know you talked about how good franchise players can be and you kind of forget that. What do you think the Timberwolves need there?
CHARLES BARKLEY: Well, I'm thinking the Timberwolves are in trouble, man, because I think Kevin Love is the best power forward in the NBA. Timberwolves don't have a lot to go with him. They're not going to get a ton better with this draft. I don't know what their draft situation is this year. But they're not going to get better. So I think the thing they gotta do is try to get as much as possible for Kevin. Kevin's the best power forward in the NBA, in my opinion. But they don't have any help for him. Like I said, they're not going to get a lot better in the next year.
I think the best thing for them to do is try to rebuild their team for the future. I do. I think that's the best - like I say, they're not going to get better in the next year. They're not going to make the playoffs next year. So they're in a very awkward situation, because I understand why he doesn't want to stay there, I mean because, like I said, they're not going to be any good for the next couple of years. You look at some NBA teams: You say, wow, they've got some good young players. You should have some good young players. But the Timberwolves don't have good young players.
Q. Where would be a good situation for them to get the most value and return, do you see?
CHARLES BARKLEY: You don't know what people are willing to give up. That's the only problem with that. But I think to me, like I said, they've got to try to get cap space release and draft pick, because they don't have good young players coming down the pipe. But listen, that guy's a stud. Like I said, in my opinion he's the best power forward in the NBA and they just try to get the best deal possible, if I was them. Because you can't just let him walk. But try to get a couple of good young players couple of good draft picks I think that's the best you're going to be able to do.
Q. Jeremy, can you give us your take on the NHL Finals and we'll let you go.
JEREMY ROENICK: I guess NHL always comes behind NBA. So all you media people on, talking about NBA, let's talk about who is getting the better ratings, which is the NHL. And no disrespect to Charles, because I love him, he's my buddy, but the National Hockey League Playoffs have been way better than the NBA Playoffs and Charles you and I can argue about that. But now we have a final between New York, two huge markets, the New York Rangers and LA Kings, and I'm actually out in LA getting ready to go. It's going to be an amazing Final, just like the Playoffs have been.
These Playoffs have been the best I've ever seen in the National Hockey League. And I'm glad you guys are still focused on the NBA and what they're doing and all the blowouts that have been happening. But I think the Finals are going to be heavily dominated by the LA Kings and it's going to be interesting to see what happens. But I'm excited for the Finals and finishing all up and moving on from there. Charles, no disrespect to you, you make the NBA Playoffs on TV the best. But still the NHL Playoffs are the best that are in sports, period.
CHARLES BARKLEY: Hey, let me just say this. Hey, dude, as you know, we talked during the Playoffs. I think there's nothing better - there's nothing better than NHL Playoffs. There's nothing better than overtime hockey. I love my NBA. But overtime hockey is the greatest thing in the world. And I watch a lot of hockey, you know that. So you all are a great sport. I love watching the playoffs. I don't watch a lot during the regular season, I think you know that, but I love the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and I do agree with you, man I wanted the Blackhawks to get there so bad. It would have been great Chicago and New York. But those Kings, man.
JEREMY ROENICK: The Kings are for real. I don't think they can be beat. Let me tell you something, the first time I met Charles, he was playing for Philly. Came to Chicago Stadium to meet a young energetic, egomaniac cocky 20 year old in Chicago and our relationship has gone from there. So the fact that he knows hockey, I'm telling you right now he knows hockey, and I've been privileged ever since. So I love him being on with me. I love you guys being here, but I have to run. Love you, Charles. I love you.
CHARLES BARKLEY: All right, my brother. Tell Drew Doughty I said hello also. We played golf together before.
JEREMY ROENICK: I'll tell him tomorrow. I'll see him in the morning. Charles, you're the best. Thanks to all the media for being on here. I'll see you guys soon.
Q. Charles, let's keep up with the hockey talk a little bit. You were in Chicago for Game 7. What was that experience like for you?
CHARLES BARKLEY: You know, man, a hockey game at Chicago Stadium, United Center now, it's one of the coolest things you're ever going to see in sports. Number one, it's always a privilege to go to a Game 7. But a hockey game at the stadium, the National Anthem, obviously, is legendary. It was really cool. Anytime I get a chance to go to a Game 7 in any sport, because, man, you can't breathe. Your heart is racing.
And I just wanted to - I kept just staring at the people around, because you don't get many Game 7s. They scored obviously on a fluke goal. But it counts. But it was a really good game. The Blackhawks had an amazing season. Kings won three straight Game 7s on the road. That's unbelievable. I enjoyed myself. Chicago is like my favorite city during the summer. Mike Wilbon is a great friend of mine. He did my last couple of books. I spent a lot of time in Chicago. And it is, other than Toronto, it is my favorite city. Obviously Toronto is not. But in the United States, Chicago is my favorite city to visit.
Q. Going back to Wilbon as a follow up, when the Hawks went down 3 1, did you tell him that you guys would have to go to a Game 7 in Chicago?
CHARLES BARKLEY: You know what's so funny, because I said: Mike, I want to go to Game 7 at the stadium. I've never seen Game 7 at the stadium. If I said it about basketball, I've said that's the best place, not that this is the same stadium, there's nothing better than a Bulls game, the Celtics that was intimidating playing up in Boston. But for a sheer crowd noise, there was nothing like being at the old Chicago stadiums. They've got some amazing fans there. But Wilbon's my guy. I said: I want to go to Game 7 if there's a Game 7. And then it was 3 1. You have oh, my plan is in jeopardy, but it worked out that the Blackhawks didn't win. That was the only thing that sucked about it.
Q. I know you picked the Heat in 7 on TNT's postgame on Saturday night. You lean towards the Heat slightly why?
CHARLES BARKLEY: I'm concerned about Tony Parker. I'm concerned. First of all, I think it's tough to beat - LeBron, you've got to beat that guy four times, man. I just think that's tough to do. I mean, I just think he's amazing to watch. I told somebody, I've been in the NBA for 30 years. We never had a superstar that leads the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, and he has to guard the best player on the other team. I mean, as great as Michael Jordan was, I'm not comparing Michael Jordan, as great as Kobe was, look at all the NBA stars, we never had to have one guy do so much for a team. Beautiful to watch.
Think about it, two years ago, three years ago this guy guarded Derrick Rose. In the Finals, two years ago, he guarded Kevin Durant. I said: Are you kidding me? To be able to guard Derrick Rose the year he was MVP and shut him down every time in the fourth quarter. And during the Finals every time, OKC needed a basket, he's such a physical freak of nature, he's quick enough to guard Durant, strong enough to make it tough on him. It's fun to watch LeBron. But if Tony Parker is not healthy, it won't be the Heat in 6 or 7, it will a lot quicker, because they don't have a chance without Tony Parker. But I think the Heat are favorite because of LeBron James.
Q. Do you have any more faith in the Heat supporting cast around LeBron after watching how they've done, obviously Dwyane botched some of the players after the last two rounds?
CHARLES BARKLEY: Those role players, Dwyane has played well. Chris has been inconsistent. He had five or six bad games and a couple good games but they won't have those matchup advantages against the Spurs. They won't be out shooting wide open 3s against the Spurs now. So that's going to negate that a little bit. And Danny Green is going to have Dwyane chasing him off those picks running around. It's all about matchups, to be honest with you. It's all about matchups. But the key to me is going to be Tony Parker's health.
Q. Couple questions regarding the Sacramento Kings. It's been a year since the Kings have sold. New ownership group and a new front office, Michael Malone, head coach, DeMarcus Cousins signed a max extension before the season. Any thoughts on the direction that team is headed on towards the future?
CHARLES BARKLEY: Very disappointed in that team this year. I thought they would be better, to be honest with you. I did. I thought they would get better. They've had all these lottery picks the last X amount of years. And I was answering a question earlier, you want to be like they've got a bunch of good, young players, and I didn't like what I saw out in Sacramento this year to be honest with you. I root for that team because I'm good friends with Kevin Johnson. And he did an amazing job of keeping that team in Sacramento because I think they've got some good fans there. I always tell people even when that team sucked back when I played back in the'80s, they were selling out every game. Those fans were pretty amazing. So that and with Kevin Johnson, I root for Sacramento, but man I just don't see like they're close. I mean, they're not close.
Q. What do you think about DeMarcus Cousins and his progress as an NBA player?
CHARLES BARKLEY: You know, every time I say something about him, he hates me and can't stand me, and I hear about it in Alabama. I'm not going to say anything right now about that how about that and that will give you an answer.
Q. That's fine. He does that to us out in Sacramento, too.
CHARLES BARKLEY: The kid thinks we don't like him. You can't do stupid stuff and us not criticize him. It's nothing personal. That's one thing that drives me crazy about all these players, when I did crazy stuff I actually got criticized but I didn't hate every media guy in the world. Like y'all's job is to ask me when I do something stupid, why did you do something stupid? And like I say he's from Alabama. So I have to hear when I go home to Alabama when I'm visiting my mom, why I hate DeMarcus Cousins. I said: Wait a minute I don't even know DeMarcus Cousins, I have nothing against him but when he does stuff, what am I supposed to say? And that's the only thing that drives me crazy about that situation. I would like to see him, I would like to see him grow up and be an All Star, because he's got the talent to be the best big man in the game, from a talent standpoint. But it takes more than talent.
Q. Charles, you also touched on Kevin Johnson a little bit, your former teammate there. Can you offer more thoughts on what he's been able to do in the last year with the Kings and even stepping in as the lead for the Players Association in the Donald Sterling situation?
CHARLES BARKLEY: I think the last year has just been perfect for him. I mean, first of all, because the NBA, they might not say, but they wanted to move that team. I mean, they wanted to move that team. And I've been on the record before. Seattle deserves the team. They don't deserve that team. But Seattle deserves a team. I hope they get a team at some point. But I'm glad they were able to stay in Sacramento. Kevin did a magnificent job on that front. And listen, obviously Chris Paul and those guys were busy. In the middle of a playoff.
The thing that's so ironic about the whole Donald Sterling thing, this is probably the best chance the Clippers ever had to win a championship. And they had to spend all their time answering questions about this idiot. And I thought it was really unfair that Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and Blake and De'Andre and all those guys, they had a legit shot to win an NBA championship and they spent their entire series - listen, Golden State, wasting energy, you have no idea how much it affected them against Oklahoma City. I mean, you just don't know from mentally and physically and the strain going extra games. It might have worn them down against OKC.
Q. One last question for you, Charles, in regards to Kevin Love, do you think that the Wolves should make a trade as soon as possible, or do you think that they would be better served waiting up until the trade deadline?
CHARLES BARKLEY: No, because you wait until the trade deadline, you can't do that. Because why would you take Kevin Love you're only going to get him for the rest of the season. At least now if you're a team, it can work for both ways. Okay, Kevin doesn't want to be here. You give us something so we can start building for the future, and then you've got to get Kevin to sign an extension. I think you try to reach a happy medium. Kevin Love is a great player and a good kid. Minnesota hasn't done him any favors. They're not very good. But if you wait to trade that line, why would you give up anything of value if you can't resign him? And listen if you just let him leave you're not getting anything for him, obviously. So you try to sit down I think you do that right now, because you've got the draft coming up. You've got expiring contracts. You try to make it a win win for both teams.
Q. Charles, it seems every time this part of the season there's a fallen Bull from the 1990 teams coming out saying they would do a number on this Heat team. Today it was Horace Grant. What's your opinion on that, or is it just guys from years past trying to hold onto something that may no longer be relevant?
CHARLES BARKLEY: No, I agree with him. I think to compare this Miami Heat team. It's not to disparage them, but do you really think they could beat Magic's Lakers, Bird's Celtics, the Bulls, not a chance. They make David West and Roy Hibbert look like Kareem and Wilt every game. They've got a little team. You can get offensive rebounds, you can punish them down low. I think what he said was factual when you look at him. Listen, I like Roy Hibbert or David West, but they're not Wilt and Kareem they way the look every time they play against Miami Heat, play the small forwards the whole game. Those are limo guys down in Miami. I send a limo. I don't want them to get stuck in traffic. I don't want them to have any car accident. I would love to see some of those little guys try to guard me down low. I would be - oh, I'd get to the game like 2:00 in the afternoon.
Q. I'm curious, who do you think should be the Lakers' coach and why not you?
CHARLES BARKLEY: Number one, I'm not jumping on a bad job. I got a great job. You don't take bad jobs. You got your best player is 40 coming off bad Achilles and knee surgery. That's not a good job right now. So, no, I just don't think you take a bad job. I think the Knicks is a similar situation. You don't take a job where you're going to get fired from. All these, those two jobs, when you talk about those two jobs, all they talk about is how much cap space they're going to have in two or three years. If your team sucks for two or three years, you're going to get fired.
Q. Would you be interested in being a coach?
CHARLES BARKLEY: No, I don't want to be a coach. I don't think these players and everybody always talk about old guys against young guys. I'm not sure how many of these NBA players today want to be great players. I think they want to make, quote/unquote, the max. That's the word they always use when they're talking to you about their contracts. They want the max. I'm not sure how much they really want to be great players, to be honest with you.
Q. When you get up here, do you think you might seek Annika? Can she help you at all with your game?
CHARLES BARKLEY: Listen, I've had the best teachers in the world work with my game. I have a mental block. First of all, I want to meet her. I want to meet one of the greatest female players ever, and I'll probably get an autograph and take a picture with her. Because it's cool. Like it's really cool. I'm a sports junkie. I love meeting somebody who was great at sports. I got a chance to meet Dale Earnhardt, Jr. about a couple of months ago, it was really cool for me. I met Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart before. I love meeting people who were great at sports because we're kind of in the same fraternity, and I think it's really cool that she's coming to do it, too. I do. I think it's going to bring great prestige to the tournament, great PR.
She's going to be able to donate - I mean, I think it's going to be interesting. These boys, man, these boys ain't going to give that trophy up too easy. Think about it. These guys all got pride, too. They especially don't want to lose to no woman. I can tell - this to me, this is shaping up to a fun event even more now. Because Jeremy touched on it, he don't want to lose to her. And I haven't even talked to some of these other guys. That's going to make it more fun and more competitive.
Q. You mentioned that you've played a lot of these celebrity type tournaments all over, some for money. What is it about this one that sort of just is different from some of those other great ones you've played in?
JACK WAGNER: The main difference with this one is NBC. That's what elevates this tournament. It's a PGA Tour event. We have PGA officials, it's roped off. It's a gallery. It's basically our Masters/U.S. Open. I think that's the real test for all the players up here: No matter what level you play at, you want to go out and dig in and really compete. And plus it's on television. If you're going to choke and embarrass yourself, you'd rather do it in Columbus, Ohio, or somewhere like that as opposed to in front of everyone on NBC. But unfortunately most of us wind up doing it on national TV. But that's the difference here, is the fact that it's televised.
CHARLES BARKLEY: Jack, the brothers, we call it the Black Masters (laughter).
JACK WAGNER: So when I show up at the Black Masters I look forward to it every year because it's on television. Even though I'm not one of the brothers, but I gotcha, Charles. Charles, would you please come and coach LA so we can play golf all the time. Please come and do something in LA.
CHARLES BARKLEY: Jack, listen, man, losing all those games would really stress out my golf game. I'm close right now. Losing all those games would really stress me out.
JACK WAGNER: I hear you. I had dinner with Hank Haney a month ago. We were sending our love to you, because like Jeremy said, when you first came up here, Charles, you were literally like a 10, 11 handicap.
CHARLES BARKLEY: It was so long ago. Man, I still have fun. Seeing you and Peter, Hank man, Hank is just a really good guy. And I can't wait. And, listen, I've done Pebble Beach. I've done a couple of other courses up in Cali. As far as scenery, I don't think you can do much better than Tahoe, man. I don't think you can do much better. It's a beautiful place. To go play 18 holes of golf and the scenery you see there, you can't do much better than that.
Q. From the Visitors Authority, we appreciate it.
CHARLES BARKLEY: I went up there. I bonded with the city a few years ago. Remember when they had the really awful fire? I told NBC, you know, it's not right for us to come up here and just have fun, play golf and then leave. And NBC says: What do you want to do? I said: Let's take a camera, let me go spend some time with the people who lost their house.
And it was emotional. I've never seen anything like that before. I have to be honest with you, I've never been around an area where a fire had devastated. But I really thought the people thought this guy took time, he didn't come up here just to play golf and gamble and screw around. He took time to come and hang out with us for a few hours, then I had a party with the - free dinner with the firefighters and their families that night.
So people were great to me, man, and I really appreciate and I look forward to being up there every year. And every year I lie and say I'm going to come up more. Then I realize it's cold up there during the rest of the year. But one of these years I'm going to come up there during the winter.
Q. Are you going to ski?
CHARLES BARKLEY: No, black people don't ski. (Laughter).
MODERATOR: Thank you.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.