CHICAGO — This used to be the place where Charles Barkley competed against his friend and foe, Michael Jordan. Lately though, the Chicaho Bulls have become just a punchline.
"I’ve been very disappointed in the Bulls," Barkley said at a TNT promotional event on Thursday at the House of Blues. "I have no idea what they’re doing."
Not only do the Bulls have a 19-36 record, Chicago will host the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday without any Bulls representatives. Naturally, Barkley had plenty to say about that and other NBA topics. Below is an edited Q&A of what the outspoken TNT analyst said.
On the state of the Bulls
Barkley: "I have no idea. I’m not going to lie in you. I’ve been very disappointed in the Bulls. I have no idea what they’re doing. I have no idea what has happened to Lauri Markkanen. I thought he was going to be the next big thing, and he has regressed."
On Zach LaVine not being in the All-Star Game
Barkley: "He didn’t deserve it."
Barkley: "Because he didn’t deserve it."
Charles Barkley on the state of the Chicago Bulls, including Zach LaVine not getting an All-Star appearance: “He didn’t deserve it.” Why not? Barkley: “He didn’t deserve it.” pic.twitter.com/8WJYduRjzL
On players complaining about getting snubbed in the All-Star Game
Barkley: "When you’re 5-75, you don’t have the right to be snubbed. Seriously. All the guys that say they got snubbed are on the worst teams in the NBA. You’re not even competitive. If your team is pretty good, you can get snubbed. But if your team is in last place, you’re not snubbed. You don’t deserve it."
On Bulls coach Jim Boylen
Barkley: "Jim Boylen is a good friend of mine, and I’ll leave it that. Jim Boylen is a good friend of mine. But I don’t know what the Bulls are doing."
On the Philadelphia 76ers' inconsistency
Barkley: "They need to grow up, mature and realize they got a chance to be an elite team. But they are not mentally tough at all. They’re the Cleveland Browns of the NBA. They want to tell you how good they are instead of playing. They need a veteran guy that will hold the young guys accountable."
On if the NBA should permit players to smoke marijuana
Barkley: "I’m not a pot guy. I’ve had pot like five times, and it just makes me want potato chips. But I got to be progressive. Listen, if you’re using pot to heal your body and things like that, I guess I can accept it. But I don’t want guys smoking pot just because they like smoking pot. I don’t think you can compare basketball to football. But I know it’s been helpful to my football friends. But if you’re going to use cannabis — I must be getting old, I’m saying cannabis. If you’re going to smoke weed or pot, it better be for the right reasons. Don’t just do it because you’re a druggie. I’m very sensitive to the subject. I had a brother who died young who was a junkie. Drugs are a real serious issue to me. But I have to be open-minded. If you’re going to use drugs for the right reasons, fine. But I don’t want to give people carte blanche to use."
TNT analyst Charles Barkley on if the NBA should allow players to smoke marijuana pic.twitter.com/kiMnMeAe2l
On what he expects to see at NBA All-Star weekend.
Barkley: "Nothing but fun. It’s just a fun weekend. This is the only break these guys get. The best players are here. So hopefully the other guys are here and resting up for the rest of the playoffs."
On what he thinks of the All-Star Game
Barkley: "It’s a very fine line between strange and stupid. I’m on stupid."
How should fans watch this then?
Barkley: "Just to have fun. These guys all play for different teams. They’re not going to go out and try to kick each other’s ass. Then somebody gets hurt and we’ll be like, ‘Oh man, they shouldn’t have been playing that hard.' The All-Star out of all the four sports, we have far and away the best weekend. On Friday night, we show the young stars. That’s great for the fans. On Saturday night, which is the best night, we have the slam dunk and 3-point shooting contest, then Sunday should be a fun. Could they play a little harder? Yes. But I don’t want them to come out and kill each other in an exhibition game."
Follow Mark Medina on Twitter @MarkG_Medina.
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