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Merry Chuckmas

Charles Barkley railing on the Lakers is the holiday NBA content you need

December 14, 2022

It became extremely clear on Tuesday night that Charles Barkley is sick of talking about the Lakers. We don't know if we can defend Sir Charles on this one, exactly—they're the league's most famous franchise, they have the game's most famous player, and they won a title just two years ago. But my God, do we love the content.

The rant that follows came at halftime of the Lakers-Celtics game. In the second half, the Lakers mounted a wild 20-point comeback against the Celtics, had it pretty much wrapped up when Anthony Davis stepped up to the foul line to ice the game, and then found a way to lose in OT. At the half, though, they were down 15, and Sir Charles wasn't having it. Get 'em, Chuck:

The comparison to the Washington Wizards is vintage Barkley, and it's pretty perfect that they were the no. 12 ranked team in the east, setting up the ideal comparison. Like any good Chuck rant—my favorite is when he murdered the entire Phoenix Suns franchise—there's a lot of truth here, and a lot of comedy. The basic idea, that the Lakers continue to grab attention and headlines despite being objectively bad, is spot on. That's how needle movers work, and the Lakers move needles, and it can be insanely obnoxious as a sports consumer. Especially when, as Chuck says, "the Lakers stink." The best part, though, comes with the classic Barkley stray shots; somehow, in a diatribe against the Lakers, the Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal took the biggest hits of all.

"Do we ever mention the Washington Wizards?" he asks, voice just dripping with disdain. He's the best.

And as always, it's punctuated by the perfect out from Ernie Johnson, the pro's pro, who tells him it's the last time he'll get to see them this year and so he better be nice. Barkley briefly forgets it's December, Shaq calls him a "big dummy" and pretty much all the boxes of a terrific Inside the NBA segment were checked. All that was missing was Kenny Smith winding him up to greater heights, but this was close to perfect. All hail Chuck, and all hail the greatest studio show in sports.