Taking ample time off has become a trend in the NBA. Perhaps taking a page from Joe Biden and Mayor Pete’s book, NBA players increasingly take nights off for “load management” purposes.
What does that mean? Good question since regular people don’t get to manage their loads. Joe bag-o-donuts down at the factory works five and six days a week, but apparently, that is too much to ask of athletic millionaires playing a child’s game. One of the old-school superstars of his generation and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley sounded off on the topic Monday. Outkick reports:
Charles Barkley played in an era where basketball players actually played basketball and even as someone paid millions to talk about and promote the league, he isn’t afraid to call it as he sees it.
Each and every night it seems like superstar players around the league are sitting out. Whether it be the second game of a back-to-back or a player catching the oh-so-popular ‘non-COVID illness,’ players are finding ways to miss games.
Charles Barkley weighs in on load management in the NBA:
"You can't make $30, $40, $50 million and then sit out games. I think it's disrespectful to the game, I think it's disrespectful to the fans." pic.twitter.com/WLFTnhRCV7
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 27, 2023
This business model would not fly in most industries. Employees are generally expected to work and contribute, whether they make twenty bucks an hour or twenty million a year. For whatever reason, NBA players think it is asking too much to jog up and down the court for most 82 games.
This is a particular problem because the cost of attending an NBA game is high. No one wants to take their family to see LeBron, only for him to be taking a “load management” night. NFL players don’t do that, and there are only seventeen games. MLB players will take a day off, but not habitually like the spoiled millionaires in the NBA do. Outkick continued:
On Monday’s edition of ‘First Take,’ Barkley expanded on the load management issue and made the spot-on point that steel workers and other blue-collar workers don’t just sit out from working when they feel like it. Those blue-collar workers aren’t being paid $40 million or more to play basketball, either.
“I don’t think fans get mad if you’re making $30, $40, $50 million if you play basketball every night, but you can’t make $30, $40, $50 million and then sit out games,” Barkley said. “I think it’s disrespectful to the game, I think it’s disrespectful to the fans. These fans are paying their hard-earned money.”
“It ain’t like we’re working in the steel mill, brother,” Barkley continued. “There are people working in the steel mill every day and I’m pretty sure they’re tired too, but they go to work every day.”
As usual, Charles is right. He is one of the few voices of reason in not only sports media, but media in general. The NBA is already bleeding fans, and the recent NBA All-Star game was one of the lowest rated ever. Fans are fed up and it shows.
NBA injury reports aren’t available until a couple hours prior to the game, and if you have dropped several hundred dollars to see your favorite player and he is taking a mental health break, guess you are screwed. Explain that to your kid when he is upset that Ja Morant is in sweats on the bench.
If there is a solution in sight, Barkley doesn’t know what it is. Until the league and the players value the people that support them and help pay their salaries, also known as the fans, things won’t change. It will still be spoiled rich men that won’t run up and down the court for 82 games a season.
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