Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has criticized former NBA MVP Kevin Durant on his choice to team up with the Golden State Warriors, calling it “cheat[ing his] way to a championship.”
On ESPN’s Mike & Mike, Barkley went on to reminisce on his days in the league and earlier, saying it was understandable when older players in the twilights of their careers joined teams in order to win championships. They’d paid their dues.
Barkley said his issue only comes when elite players in the primes of their careers team up in an attempt to dominate the league.
“I have no problem with a guy at the end of his career like Karl Malone, or Gary Payton I think did it, something like that. I have no problem with a guy at the end of his career … we’re talking about a guy who’s 27 years old who has led the league in scoring four out of the last five years* who is a former MVP,” he said.
“That’s my problem. Listen, if you get traded, you get traded. But when you all get together and say ‘let’s dominate the league’ and try to cheat your way to a championship…. Don’t you want to compete? I would love to go back in my day and ‘hey let me call Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and let’s just dominate the NBA.'”
Durant has faced heavy scrutiny for his decision to join forces with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in San Francisco and will continue to face the heat as long as he and his team don’t win the ultimate prize in a Larry O’Brien Trophy.