Barkley’s strange criticism of Embiid is way off-base originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Joel Embiid had a brutal Game 5 performance, as did basically every single one of his teammates. The Sixers looked absolutely awful on Tuesday night after two impressive games in Philadelphia.
It was a real bummer!
And while Embiid’s performance was certainly disappointing, it was also kind of understandable: he’s dealing with a thumb injury, an eye injury, is fresh off a concussion, and just in the first half Tuesday night appeared to hurt his back chasing a loose ball and was thwacked in that injured eye by a basketball.
But are those totally reasonable explanations what TNT’s Charles Barkley chose to seize on?
Of course not.
Barkley decided to take a much more circuitous, asinine route during the halftime break:
“Joel Embiid is so distracted, in my opinion, by this MVP thing. He’s not there tonight. He’s got 6 points but he’s not being aggressive, he’s throwing the ball away – I mean like, I wonder on that team who’s going to go , ‘Hey man, you’re the MVP. We know you’re the MVP. Now go out here and prove it.’ But Ernie, when you are mad about something it can work both ways. And it’s working the wrong way for Joel Embiid tonight. He is so distracted. “
When I heard Barkley uttering these words in real time, I thought he was kidding.
This is so, so, so stupid.
Did Embiid want to win MVP? Sure. It would’ve been a big deal, and it would’ve been cool.
But Embiid has been clear, time and time again, that he cares about one thing during his time in the NBA: he wants to win a title.
What’s also clear, to everyone except Chuck, is that Embiid is struggling with the numerous physical ailments he’s playing through. Sure, he might be able to tough it out for a game or two and put on a brave face.
But the guy literally missed the first two games of this series, is regularly lifting his mask during game stoppages, and still can’t grip the basketball properly or get a proper rotation on his shot because HE HAS A TORN LIGAMENT IN HIS THUMB.
Use your brain, Chuck. I’m begging you. Embiid is giving it all his, but the guy has an individual injury list that would make the Week 13 Eagles blush.
This is completely insane, but of course no one on TNT’s set called Barkley on his take. Shaq agreed, while Ernie and Kenny just went along for the ride.