Barkley Blasts LeBron, Calls Heat Hoopla "National Nightmare"

Pro athletes way too self-important, says outspoken former star

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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former NBA player Charles Barkley (L) at the after party for the Ante Up for Africa celebrity poker tournament during the World Series of Poker at the Voodoo Lounge at the Rio Hotel & Casino July 5, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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What, you thought Charles Barkley was going to sit back and watch the LeBron James show without weighing in?

The Round Mound of Rebound was his glib self when he sat down with Comcast Sports Net Monday and tore into King James for creating a spectacle Thursday with his "Decision" on ESPN. James announced he would join fellow stars Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh and play for the Heat, though some skeptics believe the trio hatched their plan years ago.

"This has been like the national nightmare," Barkley groused. "I've never been so mad and disappointed in the NBA overall. Number one, they already had this deal done. It's coming out now. Instead of meeting with all these teams. They already had it done."

Barkley said Dan Gilbert, owner of the cavaliers team James bolted, did the superstar a favor by writing an angry open letter blasting James as a narcissistic coward who betrayed Cleveland.

"LeBron should have told the Cavaliers in advance," Barkley said. "And Dan Gilbert clearly screwed up, because you can't say all that stuff. Because he got LeBron off the hook. If Dan Gilbert had just said thank you, and blah blah blah... [Instead] he made look LeBron like a better guy.

Then, Sir Charles went on to blast pro athletes for losing perspective.

"A lot of these guys take themselves a little bit too serious," he said. "Let's see, a teacher, policeman, fireman, doctor, and somebody who's in the service. I truly believe those are the only five real jobs in the world. Everybody else should just shut the hell up and enjoy life. There's five legitimate jobs in life.

"It's an honor and a blessing to play a sport for a living, but come on man. Listen, do we make things better ... if someone's having bad day or a city's having a tough time? Of course. But you can't think you're the greatest thing in the world if you play a sport -- you got to keep it all in perspective."

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