Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley are pretty much the greatest studio team in all of sports, and one of my favorite parts of the NBA, in general. (If you put a camera on Ron Artest while he lives his daily life and then have Inside The NBA offering analysis of everything he does, we might not even need basketball to come back at all.)
So you know, nothing they say here hasn't been said elsewhere, but it feels a little different. These aren't faceless bloggers off in no-man's land wasting their life away shouting into the wind. (Ahem.). With Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith, you're talking about three of the most prominent voices the NBA has anywhere. So without further ado, here's a partial transcript of an NBA Lockout segment on NBATV with the crew from Inside the NBA.
ERNIE: What's your view Charles, from the outside, as you watch what goes on in New York and you read reports and you see 'Well, we're optimistic here maybe progress was made here or... you know, whatever.' How do you view it?
CHUCK: I'm actually just angry, and I'm angry at the owners. The players deserve some responsibility first and foremost, oweners deserve some responsibility. But I'm lookin at this now, this is a business and I understand the business. We as players have been getting 57 percent. We knew they wanted something back. Now we're at 50. Clearly the players have given, given, given, given, given, given. Now, I'm very disappointed in the owners and commissioner Stern.
It looks like... They won the game. They were always going to win the game. They were always going to win the game. Now they're trying to run up the score. And I have a problem with it. Us guys, we kill ourselves. We make a great living, they make a great living, we sustain a lot of business around these arenas. The players deserve to get more, to piggyback on what Reggie said. But for the players to go down to 50, or 51 however you want to look at it, and that not be enough for the owners? You know they want to sit there and talk about 57 to 41, we're talking about billions of dollars here. You know, 57 to 50 ain't a hundred thousand dollars, it ain't a million dollars. We're talking billions of dollars. And I'm very disappointed in the owners. Because this, for me, is gonna be a carry-over effect. These players ain't gon' take this lightly. Because they have been totally disrespected.
[Shaq and C-Webb offer some analysis]
KENNY: I'm surprised that we're here at this spot. I totally agree with what Charles said. I think overall, if you look at any negotiation... I mean I hear a lot of fans say, well the players they have to concede, and why should you give someone 51 percent of your business if you're the owner? Because there's no one that comes to see an owner play. And when players leave franchises, the franchises lose money. Because of particular players. When owners change, it doesn't really change the dynamic. But the players change the dynamic.
The second part of it is... I just think that there is a number, that everyone should of known what it is. And when you're at 50 to 53 percent of the pie, it seems like there's a certain number that you wanna hit, and you say, 'Well if we hit this number, we'll take 50 percent, and if we don't hit this number, you take 53'. And then it becomes, if you make the league profitable, you get more. If you don't make the league profitable, then you don't get more. And then how simple is that? ...
BARKLEY: The players should not have to give a dime less than 50-50. You know these guys who were talkin bout 47... If I'm the players and they offer me 47 percent, we just gon' have to cancel the season.