NBA Playoff Confessions Day 3: I’d Rather Be Barkley
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I grew up wanting to be the same type of basketball player that Charles Barkley was. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I loved how Barkley told me that he wasn’t my role model. And maybe this has even more to do with the fact that Barkley is the most entertaining sports personality there is in or out of the game right now.
But whatever it is, I’m embarrassed to say this but, I’m confessing that I’d rather be Charles Barkley.
If you don’t already know what that is in response to, it’s based on a question oft asked by many sports writers to players during the NBA Playoffs. Actually, it’s more of a hypothetical proposition, a la the “Indecent Proposal” scenario that every couple had to play back in the 90′s with their significant other. The proposition is as such, “Would you rather be Charles Barkley, get all the fame, glory, stats and win nothing, or would you rather be Robert Horry, a 5th or 6th man on seven different NBA championship teams?“
It’s a hell of question, one that really requires some deep introspection. Obviously, the politically correct thing to say is that you’d rather be Robert Horry, because in this scenario, Horry gets the wins and comes across as more of a “I’ll do anything for the team,” sort of guy. But that’s just the politically correct thing to say. The real answer, in actuality, will differ from person to person. Some people don’t want all the glory. Some people don’t want all the fame. Some people will do anything to be a part of triumphant organization, and some people will do anything to be triumphant at their organization.
But to go back to my point, I fall in the camp of the latter–when it comes to basketball that is. I’d much rather be Charles than Horry. Personalities aside, Barkley lived the life he wanted to lead. He had the commercials, the women, the TV time, the money, the resounding respect of his peers and the ability to do as he pleased on the basketball court. Robert Horry, more or less, had luck on his side. Sure, Horry made sure to get with the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs when they gave him a good chance to win titles. However, he had already won two championships in Houston, where he was an instrumental part of the team, and he had absolutely no choice in the matter since he was drafted by the Rockets. In addition, Horry’s championships had very little to do with him outside of a few well-timed three-pointers.
I know what you’re saying about me though, “He’s one of those guys! Ballhog!” Yeah, I don’t know about that though. I think you’re a lot like me. You want to say you’d rather be Horry, but perhaps you don’t know what you’d be giving up. Horry didn’t have a line of TV gigs waiting for him upon retirement. Horry didn’t make $9 million in one season like Barkley did at his high point. And do we even talk about Horry any more? Isn’t he completely irrelevant to anything going on in sports right now?
So how did this issue come up for me while watching the Miami/Philly series and the Chicago/Indiana game? Well, I couldn’t help but think that among all the great players we saw playing on the court tonight, one of those guys may never win a championship. Derrick Rose is good, but if he doesn’t beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat with this squad, he may never have this exact same talent around him ever again. And the opposite is true too. If LeBron, Wade and Bosh can’t win the NBA championship this season, who knows how things will work out season after season as the Heat get older?
In fact, let’s stick with that hypothetical. If LeBron loses to Chicago in the Eastern Conference Finals, do you want to be him or do you want to be Lamar Odom–sans the reality show? Again, I’d rather be LeBron James, a bonafide superstar that gets everything he wants and misses out on few opportunities of importance to him. Yes, Lamar Odom is rich, has two championship rings and a famous wife. Yet at the end of the day, I still saw him sitting in his car, sad that he didn’t make the All-Star team–yet again.
Of course, Lamar has experienced another feeling that LeBron simply hasn’t–winning. Then again, I’m sure LeBron can teach Lamar a thing or two about the life of a superstar.
It’s just a matter of being willing to be mediocre at a really good company, or being a star-performer at a not-as-great company. Yes, in real life, you can have it both ways. Michael Jordan was the man on his team, and he got the championships. Barkley had his shots at it too, he just failed…miserably.
Still, if forced to choose from living the life of Barkley or Horry, I’m going with Barkley 100 times out of 100. He got the talent and everything that comes with it. Horry got the rings as one of the greatest co-signers in the history of the NBA and will be forgotten about in five years.
Call me a maverick, selfish, ball-hog, or whatever else you’d like to call me. But you know that deep down inside, you too would chose the life of Barkley. Outside of a few errs in judgment on the basketball court, Barkley has been able to do whatever he wants to do in life. Robert Horry hasn’t, and if you don’t believe me, just ask yourself what he’s doing right now.
No related posts.