If you are a basketball fan that is into video games, you have definitely played or heard of the NBA 2K franchise. The most famous basketball simulation in the world has been dominating the basketball gaming scene for over 20 years now and has been growing more and more popular over the years.
One reason for its success is that it allows you to play as almost any team and player in NBA history due to their contract with the NBA. That contract enables them to use the likeness of teams and players in the league, creating the most realistic possible basketball simulation experience. But some players are an exception, as one of them is the great Charles Barkley.
Charles is famous in the 2K world as one of the rare players to not be in the game. Even though the game features some of Barkley's teams and the whole NBA on TNT panel, Charles is the one missing link. A few years ago "Sir Charles" finally explained why that is:
"I'm asked that question a lot. So, they pay those guys to do it and they make 300 million dollars and they pay the guys chump change. And I'm like nah, I'm not doing that. I said this is what I'll do, because giving me some money doesn't help anybody. I said give the old retired players a million dollars and I'll be in the video game. They're like, well, we're gonna pay you the same thing we pay others, and I said I'm not like the others. They piss me off every year. They call me every year and say 'hey, have you changed your mind?' Why in the world would you think I'm gonna change my mind?"
Charles Barkley, via Nick Talks Sports
Charles showed again he is a genuinely classy guy, showing his concern and intentions to help the Retired Players Association. With the amount of money being thrown around in today's NBA, people tend to think players always had that type of luxury and that they are financially settled for life. But the situation in the early days of the NBA was utterly different.
The average yearly salary of NBA players used to be 90 000$. Nowadays it is about 7.7$ million. Players used to work part-time jobs in the summer to make a living. So you can see where Charles is coming from, as many older and retired players struggle to make ends meet.
The Take-Two company that stands behind the NBA 2K franchise has received criticism regarding money. It all starts from pricing the game highly and making their customers pay for additional advantages within the game through microtransactions. And now they are too cheap to set aside an amount of money for the retired players. Considering how much money they make yearly from their game, one million would be pocket change.
But as it is in the world, there is never too much money, as 2K didn't respond to Barkley or listen to his demands. But they still have the nerve to ask him every year if he changed his mind. As a big fan of Charles Barkley and the 2K games, it is very unfortunate I can't play with his character in the game. But knowing the cause behind his absence makes me at ease. Great stuff from "Sir Charles."