Dan asked Barkley if he heard Bryant Gumbel’s comments on HBO comparing David Stern to a plantation owner.
“I thought they were stupid,” Barkley said. “Disrespectful to black people who went through slavery. When [you're talking about] guys who make $5 million a year.”
Barkleys said that during David Stern’s stint as a commissioner, the average salary has gone from about $300K to $5 million. Barkley said that Stern isn’t holding anyone back from making money. Barkley also said everyone has to realize Stern represents the owners.
Barkley also had interesting comments on union chief Billy Hunter. He said that Hunter is in a tough position because he’s got the big stars in one ear and the average players in the other ear. “It’s not a fair fight for Billy Hunter,” Barkley said.
Barkley isn’t so sure about the big stars barnstorming overseas. He said it won’t help the players who really need the money. Barkley called it kind of a “cash grab” for the star players. And Barkley thought the players should do it in America to provide some jobs.
Barkley can’t understand why Kobe Bryant would do this tour. He said Bryant has nothing to gain from something like that.
Regarding the lockout, Barkley said he’s worried about the people who work for the teams and the arenas. “I’m not concerned about the players or owners,” Barkley said. “They’re going to be fine.”
Barkley thinks the key issue is small-market vs. big-market teams. He said that if small markets can’t compete, the league isn’t going to work. “We’re not going to be baseball,” Barkley said.