Hall of Fame power forward Charles Barkley said on Wednesday he was disappointed that Kevin Durant has opted to ride the Golden State “gravy train” instead of staying in Oklahoma.
Durant shocked the NBA on Monday when he announced he was leaving Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors, a move that strengthens an already stellar Golden State squad that went 73-9 last season before losing in the finals to Cleveland.
Barkley, an 11-time All-Star who never won an NBA title, told ESPN Radio: “I was disappointed. I was disappointed like I was disappointed when LeBron went to Miami.
“Kevin is a terrific player, he’s a good kid. But just disappointed with the fact that he weakened another team and he’s gonna kind of gravy train on a terrific Warriors team. [I’m] just disappointed from a competitive standpoint. Because just like it meant more to LeBron to win one in Cleveland, it would mean more to Kevin to win one in Oklahoma than it would be in Golden State.”
Durant’s nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder netted him seven All-Star selections, one MVP award and one NBA finals appearance – but the championship remains elusive. Barkley, however, said truly great players were not judged by how many medals they won, but how they made teams better.
“We develop this thing where you keep telling these guys, hey man, if you don’t win a championship you’re a bum. I don’t feel like a bum,” Barkley said.
“I’m pretty sure Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and John Stockton – we think we’re pretty damn good. We could have played with some of those other guys and kind of cheated our way to a championship. But there is this thing that started with this new generation where these guys feel so much pressure. Everybody wants to win.
Barkley suggested it was better to be driving the bus than riding in the back.
“I’m a big Chris Paul fan. I’m sure Chris Paul wants to win a championship. And he could, when his contract is up, go join one of these super teams and get a championship. But it won’t be the same as leading your team where you’re the bus driver instead of the bus rider.”
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 6th July 2016 18.33 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010