Charles Barkley's commentary style is direct. Funny and insightful at times, absolutely, but most of all the NBA on TNT analyst doesn't pull any punches.
That showed during a media conference call with Barkley and other members of the "Inside the NBA" broadcast Thursday afternoon as the network promoted its upcoming coverage of All-Star game festivities.
Barkley received a question about whether he finds himself holding back on some comments knowing so many NBA players watch the popular show. The basic reply from Barkley was a blunt no, but that's when things got interesting. Because the question came from a Washington Times reporter, Barkley latched on to the local angle with the Wizards for an example. For those not keeping score at home, Washington's record fell to 21-26 following Wednesday's 134-121 nationally televised loss to the Golden State Warriors.
"That little team y'all got in Washington, they're mediocre at best," Barkley stated. "You want me to tell you they're really good? They're not very good. They're mediocre at best. That's just a fact."
When it comes the Wizards, Barkley often backed the team over the last two seasons, both of which ended with trips to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Clearly he's changed his mind.
"That's another team that's disappointing," Barkley continued. "If you want me to tell you they're world beaters, they have a shot at this thing -- they don't have a shot at this thing. They're just playing out the 82 games of the regular season, maybe get to the playoffs and their season is going to be over. That's a fact."
The facts are the Wizards are tied for 10th in the East, 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Simply looking at that data and the mediocre tag is fair. Yet the postseason remains within reach especially if the defense improves significantly, Bradley Beal's minutes increase and the team takes advantage of a soft remaining schedule.
Yet Washington has lost seven of nine games. Pointing that out isn't tough love, just the facts.