It's tough for a zebra to change his stripes, even decades after he shed those stripes for a suit.
Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was a guest on the Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic Wednesday, and for the second year in a row, Barkley hitched his wagon to the team that drafted him and the franchise for which he played his first eight NBA seasons.
Barkley called the 76ers the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Bucks, citing new head coach and the two superstars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
"You could put me and you out there with [Embiid and Simmons]," he told Missanelli. "If those two guys do what they're supposed to do, the Sixers will be a serious contender, plain and simple."
The conversation soon turned to James Harden, who has been actively seeking a trade. The Sixers are reportedly on Harden's short list.
Barkley doesn't deny Harden's otherworldly talent, but he doesn't like the fit in Philadelphia.
"He's the best 1-on-1 player I've ever seen. He's not as good as Michael (Jordan) and Kobe (Bryant), but as far as being an offensive force, he's the best I've ever seen," the Hall of Famer said. "But are you going to change your whole offense, and play him like Mike D'Antoni played him? The Sixers won't be better with James Harden."
Missanelli put Barkley on the spot, asking him if he would trade Ben Simmons for Harden.
"I think the Rockets would do that in a minute," Barkley quickly responded. "James Harden is not gonna change his game. He's a great 1-on-1 basketball player. He's gonna get the ball and go 1-on-1 every time, and if they stop him, he's gonna pass it to a 3-point shooter.
"I don't think that was fun for guys in Houston. You know how I know? Because number one, it didn't work. And Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook said, 'I don't want to watch this dude dribble all night and then we shoot threes all night,' so they both bailed."
Another possible landing spot if Harden is traded is the Brooklyn Nets, who already feature two ball-dominant stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Charles has a sadistic wish for Harden and the Nets.
"I am praying that the Nets get James Harden because I want to see that trainwreck live and in color," Barkley said. "It would be the most fascinating 'Housewives' reality show. ... I don't think it's going to happen, but if they get James Harden, I think it would be a fascinating trainwreck watching those three guys try to survive with each other in New York with that media."