Charles Barkley says he thinks Nets’ success is bad for business, is rooting for Knicks to succeed

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Charles Barkley made his allegiance to New York basketball teams very clear on Wednesday: root for the Knicks to succeed and the Nets to fail.

Barkley laid out multiple reasons for this preference, including a belief that the playoff atmosphere last month at Madison Square Garden was electric and positive for the NBA.

To compare, Barkley referenced a “mausoleum” crowd at Barclays Center.

“The Brooklyn Nets got a much better team, but when they play it’s like a mausoleum. And they got a much better team,” said Barkley, who spoke Wednesday while promoting his participation in a golf tournament this weekend, the American Century Championship. “I want (the Knicks) because that place was on fire, and I’m hoping they keep getting better because that place was fire. I’ve been there when it’s been on fire.

“It’s great for the NBA that the Knicks are doing good.”

Barkley’s biggest issue with the Nets is they’re the product of the Super Team era, assembled after three All-Stars left their previous squads. The Nets, as a result, became the NBA’s latest villain.

“I’m not a fan of super teams. If they win it, they win it. But I want to make it perfectly clear — I’m rooting against those guys. I’m rooting against all super teams. I’m old school,” Barkley said.

He explained how superstar relocations have devastated franchises, noting that TNT now rarely, if ever, broadcasts games featuring the Raptors (after Kawhi Leonard left) or Houston (after James Harden left) or Oklahoma City (after Kevin Durant left) or Cleveland (after LeBron James left).

Barkley added that the attitude among star players was different in the 1980s and 90s, when several Hall of Famers stuck with one team for vast majority of their careers without winning a title.

Barkley played for the Sixers, Suns and Rockets.

“I just don’t think that’s good for the game. Even though we didn’t win a championship, the Sixers were worth watching when I was there. The Knicks were worth watching. The Pacers were worth watching when Reggie (Miller) was there. Same with Atlanta and Dominique (Wilkins),” Barkley said. “So I just don’t think it’s good for business, but these young kids, they all fold to peer pressure and feel like they got to win a championship or their life sucks.

“I feel good about my legacy,” Barkley added. “I’m sure Patrick and John (Stockton) and Karl (Malone) do. LeBron started this super team thing and it’s the way the game is played.”

Ironically, Barkley, a premier NBA analyst, had previously been labeled a Knicks hater, but pushed back on that perception Wednesday.

“Y’all have sucked for 20 years. Why is it when I say y’all sucked for 20 years, I’m being negative?”

Now he’s rooting for the Knicks because, in part, he’s friends with Knicks executive William Wesley and assistant coach Kenny Payne.

The Knicks overachieved this season for their first playoff berth in eight years but were bounced easily in the first round by the Hawks. They have about $50 million in cap space this summer.

“What they learned during the playoffs, you can’t just work hard,” Barkley said. “They’re one of the hardest working teams in the league. But as you saw when the playoffs started, they don’t have enough talent. So this is a really, really big summer for them.”

Barkley is among over 80 celebrities participating in the American Century golf tournament in Tahoe, joining Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Timberlake and John Smoltz, among others. He is an admitted terrible golfer and a 7500-1 betting longshot to win, according to William Hill.

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