The gloves are off on Inside the NBA. First, Shaq called out LeBron after his self-pity post on Twitter about players getting injured because of the lack of rest and how "they all didn't want to listen to" LeBron. O'Neal reminded LeBron he's getting paid millions of dollars to work fewer hours than the average American and that Shaq always kept that in mind.
“When you’re living in a world where 40 million people have been laid off and I’m making $200 million, you won’t get no complaining from me. I’d play back to back to back to back to back. I’m not knocking what anybody said, but me personally, I don’t complain and make excuses, because real people are working their tail off and all we gotta do is train two hours a day and then play a game for two hours at night and make a lot of money … So my thought process is a little different.”
Shaquille O’Neal, CNBC
Charles Barkley felt the need to address another tendency players in the NBA developed that also falls under the category of self-pity. After his monster Game 5 performance, Paul George was asked about his status amongst NBA fans and media, more specifically, if he's being picked on more than other stars. You can guess what George answered.
“I do. And it's the honest truth. It's a fact. But I can't worry about that. It comes with the job, I guess.”
Paul George, postgame conference
But this wasn't the only thing that broke the camel's back for Sir Charles. Throughout Clippers' broadcasts, you can hear TV analysts spoon-feeding the narrative that George is somehow the most scrutinized star in the NBA. They, of course, conveniently forget to mention George brought most of it on himself with some of the most absurd statements and moves in recent NBA history.
- Being in a Gatorade commercial about making a buzzer-beater when he had none
- Giving himself the Playoff P nickname
- Saying he's going back to his MVP season (he never won an MVP),
- Saying Doc didn't use him right when it was his career-high as a ball handler in pick-and-roll action,
- Saying the Clippers are in control before Game 7 against the Nuggets in the bubble and following it up that the team didn't have enough urgency
- Blaming Christmas food for the largest deficit at halftime in NBA history.
These were from the top of my head, and there's more. You can't say so many outlandish things, praise yourself all the time, hit the backboard in one of the worst meltdowns ever, and be surprised people are calling you out. All the millions Paul George makes come from the fact millions of people are tuning in to watch him throw a ball through a metal ring - the attention comes with the paycheck.
“These dudes man. Every great player gets criticised. I don't want to hear that bull(crap). I’ve gotten criticized because I hadn’t won a championship. Michael Jordan before he won a championship, ‘Yeah, he can’t win.’ Shaq, Kobe, everybody got criticized. This false narrative, I hear these jackasses on television talking about George getting scrutinized more than other people. Give me a freakin’ break!”
Charles Barkley, Inside the NBA
It's a sign of the times. When he was asked if he was the GOAT, Michael Jordan would always say that's for others to determine, his peers and people who follow the sport. On the other hand, LeBron said he won two of the most difficult championships ever and that he is the GOAT.
One grew up and played in an era when you earned respect by playing the game and answering tough questions. The other one thinks respect is demanded in interviews with business partners and by building "your own truth" through social media. Which one sounds like propaganda to you?
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