Charles Barkley Blasts Today’s Fragile NBA Players Who Can’t Just Play Through Covid Like He Did

Illustration for article titled Charles Barkley Blasts Today’s Fragile NBA Players Who Can’t Just Play Through Covid Like He Did

ATLANTA—Following the postponement of multiple games as league officials dealt with the spread of the virus, Hall of Fame player and Inside The NBA analyst Charles Barkley on Wednesday blasted today’s fragile NBA players who can’t just play through Covid like he did. “Back in our day, we were tough, and we were always out there on the floor, no matter whether we had Covid or how bad our Covid was,” said Barkley, recalling a 1994 game with the Phoenix Suns when most of the team came down with Covid in the first half and they still held on to beat the Utah Jazz. “You think Scottie Pippen or Patrick Ewing is skipping a game because he’s running a fever or lost his sense of smell? These guys today are quitting on their teams the second they hear they have it, and some of them don’t even have symptoms. Fact is, the entire Supersonics team—[Sean] Kemp, [Gary] Payton, all those guys—they had Covid the whole season back in ’96, and they made it all the way to the championship. Back then, were we feeling achy? Sure. Were we unhappy? Yeah. Were we most likely responsible for our assistant coach’s death from Covid? Probably. But you just went out there and played, man, Covid or no.” Barkley also criticized NBA fans for not manning up and attending games anyway, saying that the fans back in the 1990s would have showed up with their ventilators and cheered their teams on the whole game.