Charles Barkley has long been a critic of NBA players sitting out games due to load management. Unsurprisingly, when the topic came up on Tuesday night ahead of the start of the NBA season, Barkley made clear that he’s incredibly happy that the league did something about it.
Barkley and the rest of the TNT crew were visited by Adam Silver in the lead-up to the Denver Nuggets’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers. When the topic of the league’s new rules about players missing games without injuries popped up, Barkley made clear that he believes players should play so long as they don’t have an injury.
“If you’re making $30M, $40M, $50M to play basketball four days a week … Man, if you can play, shut the hell up and play.”
Chuck’s message to players on load management pic.twitter.com/woLLB4QSuA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 24, 2023
“I’m talking to the players,” Barkley said. “Man, forget the ownership, forget the fans. As a player, if you’re gonna make $50-60 million a year to play basketball three or four days a week, play basketball, man. Now, if you’re injured, don’t play. But everybody hurts after the first two weeks of the season — your legs sore, knee sore. If you’re injured, I don’t want you to play.
“But the notion that, number one, bless these guys,” he continued. “You’re making $30, $40, $50 million to play basketball four days a week, y’all got the best shoes, you got the best medical staff, you got these guys sleeping in chambers, you’ve got ice baths. Man, if you can play, shut the hell up and play.”
The NBA made a concerted effort to address load management this offseason, as it upped the penalties for players missing games on national TV and multiple stars sitting out the same game. In conjunction with all of this, the league claimed it had evidence that the practice of load management is not effective.