Charles Barkley and Joel Embiid are two dudes who have no problem telling people exactly what they think. So it’s only natural that they’re going to butt heads from time to time.
One of those times is now. Embiid was severely under the weather for several games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, leaving him unable to play at full strength for the Philadelphia 76ers. After the Toronto Raptors dealt the Sixers a 125-89 drubbing in Game 5, neither Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal felt like accepting Embiid’s gastrointestinal distress as a reason for his less-than-inspiring play.
"If you want people to remember The Process forever, you've got to step up."
Shaq & Chuck share their concerns with Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/KEugaVqAik
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 8, 2019
Barkley’s key point is that Embiid should not have shown any weakness, and him walking around and acting like he was sick was draining the energy from the team.
Surprise, surprise: Embiid didn’t like Barkley’s comments very much! He sat down for an interview before Game 7 (when he was feeling much better) and discussed what Shaq and Barkley said. You can see Embiid’s interview in the clip below, as well as Barkley’s response, which is, of course, a hoot.
Charles Barkley invites Joel Embiid, and anyone else, to kiss his ass if they don't like his criticism.
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) May 12, 2019
Embiid said he doesn’t think Barkley knows what he’s talking about, and says whatever he wants on TV. In response, Barkley told Embiid exactly what he can kiss if he doesn’t like what he says.
“Listen, I’m easy to find. I’ve always said he’s a hell of a player. If he can stay healthy, he’s going to be one of the greatest ever. IF he can stay healthy, the verdict’s still out on that. But I get sick of these guys complaining … But I’m going to criticize guys if they deserve it, and they can kiss my ass if they don’t like it.”
The Sixers were eliminated by a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater on Sunday, ending any hope of continued back-and-forth jawing by Embiid and Barkley in this playoff season. But let’s hope we have many, many more chances to see those two go after each other, because the entertainment factor is off the charts.
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