When we think of great, NBA rivalries, Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell and Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson are two that come immediately to mind. But one that may be as enduring as any is Charles Barkley vs. Golden State Warriors fans.

The feud manifested both before and after Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Prior to the game, Golden State’s fans (aided by Barkley’s fellow Inside the NBA analyst, Shaquille O’Neal) serenaded Barkley with chants of “Chuck, you suck.” In the immediate aftermath of Golden State’s series-clinching victory, the intensity was ratcheted up. Fans threw things onto the set.

And while Shaq, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith remained in their seats, Barkley didn’t do the same.

Fortunately, this was resolved peacefully and there were no injuries. That said, this is a bad look — for the fans as well as Barkley.

The objects being thrown on stage didn’t look particularly hard and weren’t going to inflict much damage. But that doesn’t matter. Things shouldn’t be thrown at people. All that does is encourage other people to throw stuff onto the set. That could end up being something harder, which could inflict damage. Also, depending on how far back the people throwing the objects are, the throws could come short and land on other fans. That should never happen.

By the same token, Barkley isn’t exactly calming the situation by standing up and yelling at them. No, he probably never intended to actually charge into the crowd. But even if that is the case or even if his reaction was completely good-natured, him standing there doing that also only encourages more objects to be thrown onto the set.

When it’s just trash talk, it’s fun. Barkley has said more than enough to earn the “Chuck, you suck” chants and by and large, he’s handled those fine. In this case, though, there are no winners.

[gifdsports]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.