Since Kevin Durant announced his moving from Oklahoma City to Golden State on Monday, celebrities, players, fans and pundits have offered support or criticism for the 2013-14 MVP. Charles Barkley is the latest to join the anti-Durant contingent, featuring Stephen A. Smith and Reggie Miller, among others.
In an appearance on ESPN's Mike & Mike on Wednesday, Barkley said, "Kevin Durant is trying to cheat his way into a championship."
He vented that "[Durant's] going to kind of gravy train on a terrific Warriors team. Just disappointed from a competitive standpoint"
He also called Durant's decision "a scapegoat move to try to ease your way to a championship."
Barkley's disparagement of Durant comes two weeks after the Hall of Famer left LeBron James off his all-time top-seven list on Any Given Wednesday. Only one player in Barkley's top five played in the NBA after his retirement in 2000: Michael Jordan.
Barkley's criticisms of Durant and James -- arguably the two best players to come after Barkley's era -- should be put in context with his penchant for self-aggrandizement. It was present during his playing days, and it has grown prevalent during his tenure as an analyst.
Barkley fled Phoenix after 1996 to team up with two future Hall of Famers, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, on the Houston Rockets. In 1998-99, a fourth Hall of Famer, Scottie Pippen, joined the Rockets (Drexler retired before the season). Two seasons before Barkley's arrival in Houston, the Rockets were world champions for the second straight year.
“Kevin Durant was a bus driver in OKC, now he’s a bus rider in Golden State. It's a scape goat move”
– Charles Barkley
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) July 6, 2016
"Houston was my first priority," Barkley told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1996.
"With Hakeem and Clyde, I have a great shot at a championship."
Barkley is considered one of the best NBA players of all time. And he is. But he never won a ring, and he may be a little bitter. "Sir Charles," himself, once set a precedent for joining forces with superstars. For him, it did not work.
Follow Jack Minton on Twitter @jackminton95.