Charles Barkley hasn’t been shy about his opinion on load management in the NBA. And to be fair, he hasn’t been shy about anything. On Monday, he levied perhaps his harshest assessment of the strategy that is currently impacting a lot of NBA games this season.
The NBA legend stopped by First Take on Monday and reiterated his stance on the strategy, drawing a connection between the large contracts that players earn and referencing steelworkers.
Charles Barkley weighs in on load management in the NBA:
"You can't make $30, $40, $50 million and then sit out games. I think it's disrespectful to the game, I think it's disrespectful to the fans." pic.twitter.com/WLFTnhRCV7
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 27, 2023
“It’s a huge issue,” said Barkley when asked if load management is a huge issue. “I love Adam [Silver]. He’s a great guy, he’s a great commissioner. But I think what happened is, I think he kinda went overboard trying to take care of the players…He’s trying to do everything possible to give these guys a rest.
“I don’t think the fans get mad if you’re making 30, 40, 50 million dollars if you play basketball every night. But you can’t make $30, $40, $50 million and then sit out games. I think it’s disrespectful to the game, I think it’s disrespectful to the fans.
“In this next TV negotiated deal, we’re gonna have guys making 70, 80 million dollars a year. And they’re gonna be saying ‘Wait a minute, you’re gonna make 70 million dollars and you can’t play basketball three or four days a week?’ With all the stuff. They fly private. They’ve got the best medical stuff ever created. You can’t disrespect the fans making 70, 80 million dollars and saying ‘You know what, I can’t play basketball four days a week.’
“It ain’t like we’re working in the steel mill, brother. I mean there’s people working the steel mill every day, I’m pretty sure they’re tired too. But they go to work every day, so yeah, I think load management is a big deal.”
Barkley did add that he doesn’t know what the solution is (unlike some pundits). The idea of playing fewer games in a season might sound good to some, but that would mean less money for many players in the NBA, which would have a much larger impact on bench and role players than it would on stars.
Barkley’s latest comments on load management are very much in line with previous ones, in which he fixated on player salaries as a reason why taking extended time off throughout the season isn’t something that is going to sit well with fans, audiences, franchises, and broadcast partners.