How Charles Barkley has spawned a new generation of in-your-face NBA broadcasters
When I saw this tweet from Richard Jefferson, it made me think: why is this occurring now?
There are a lot of reasons, but it starts with Turner Sports.
1. There is a Charles Barkley-ization of this generation of NBA players. Barkley is the best studio analyst of all-time because of his willingness to say what is on his mind, criticize and even lose friendships, like he has with Michael Jordan. When the leader of the pack sets the bar that high, folks who hope to join him in the space have no choice but to follow. Barkley has taught the next era of ex-NBA players entering the media that to be really successful you can’t mind offending.
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2. Meanwhile, NBA players are very attuned to what the Stephen A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses of the world say. These in-studio hot takers are often not fully informed. While neither might admit it, it is impossible to know everything, all the nuances, of any given situation. These debate shows are all entertainment, anyway, so no harm, no foul, right? Sure, unless they are talking about you. Then the commentary ranges from annoying to offensive. And players have been listening to these partially informed takes their whole careers.