No one is worse at selling the NBA’s product than Charles Barkley, a star basketball personality who is constantly rooting for less basketball and more vacation time.
Barkley’s longing for summer vacation finally came to fruition Sunday night, with his NBA media responsibilities officially coming to a close until next season tips off in October. And Shaquille O’Neal was there to celebrate with Chuck, serenading his co-analyst as they counted down the final minute of their season.
Shaq and Chuck are officially on vacation 😂
NBA TV; TNT; Charles Barkley pic.twitter.com/0BRYVWV0jG
— Oh no he didn’t (@ohnohedidnt24) June 5, 2023
Shaq wearing a lei necklace and sipping out of a pineapple-shaped cup while singing Leaving on a Jet Plane is funny. But Barkley constantly seeming inconvenienced by having a $200 million contract to talk basketball is a weird schtick.
Barkley thought his summer vacation might kick off early this season, when the Miami Heat were on the verge of sweeping the Boston Celtics during the Eastern Conference Finals. But three straight wins by the Celtics forced Barkley to delay his summer plans. Most fans, analysts and TV executives relish the opportunity to watch a Game 7. Barkley, however, didn’t hide the fact that he would rather be on vacation.
When his postgame responsibilities finally ended at the conclusion of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hall of Famer celebrated the official start of summer like a student who just finished their last final exam. But he celebrated too early. Apparently, Barkley forgot he was scheduled to be on NBA TV with Shaq for the first two games of the Finals.
Earlier this year, Barkley encouraged fans to not watch the NBA Play-In Tournament, and he similarly criticized the soon-to-be implemented midseason tournament to commissioner Adam Silver. But making it clear he has little interest in watching the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals is another level of neglect. (It’s not the first time Barkley has criticized the games he’s actually commentating, though.)
Fans love his brash commentary and even laugh at his lack of preparation at times. But Barkley should at least make it seem like he enjoys watching the NBA. Especially during the NBA Finals.