On a recent episode of the Bill Simmons podcast, I had the unfortunate displeasure of hearing TNT’s Charles Barkley questioning Steph Curry’s toughness. Barkley asserted that Curry would have been unable to withstand the physicality of the era he played. This hackneyed and nostalgic argument, one that privileges Barkley’s past over the present and reflects several logical fallacies, denies a world-class athlete such as Curry any capacity to adjust to the physicality of the game during that era. Given that Steph Curry has answered every challenge in today’s NBA game, arguing that he would not stand any chance against the Bad Boy Pistons is unreasonable.
As a teaching writing expert, writing instructor with twenty-three years of professional experience, and published scholar, I must admit that while Charles Barkley makes a clear and vociferous claim, his evidence and reasoning are tenuous at best. In Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, the foremost contemporary Marxist critic and theorist Fredric Jameson (1991) posited that postmodernism, the cultural and historical epoch we live in, is characterized by fragmentary thinking and resistance to comprehensive thought. Charles thrives on the depthless thought Jameson asserts defines postmodernism. Barkley often seems more committed to making intentional comments that engender a spectacle rather than delivering statements or arguments that make sense.
Barkley Questioning Steph Curry’s Toughness
Charles Barkley said, “As much as I love Steph Curry, and I love Steph Curry, can you imagine the Bad Boys beating the hell out of him. If you think he could take those blows that John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, those body checks that they were putting on Michael and Scottie and myself and guys like that…you really think wouldn’t break?” Simple answer, Charles: No! Lacking the courage to say it directly, Barkley believes that Steph is “soft.” Although he and others are trapped in nostalgia mode, always focusing on some idealized past that never existed, he uses a putative position about the physicality of his NBA era as cover to question Steph Curry’s toughness.
Charles Barkley, who never won an NBA championship, meaning not a single ring on his finger, is questioning Steph Curry’s toughness. Think about that for a moment. Let me remind Barkley who Steph is. Curry has four NBA championship rings, two league MVP awards, one NBA Finals MVP, an NBA All-Stars MVP, two league scoring championships, and never forget the history he made last season in the playoffs against the Sacramento Kings.
Charles Barkley will continue to eat whole buffets daily while Steph Curry keeps adding to his historic NBA career. Sir Charles, next time you mention Steph Curry’s name, mention his four NBA championship rings or Klay Thompson can remind you about the four rings.