Earlier this summer, NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst, Charles Barkley said that he’d rather retire than join a super team.
“I would rather not win than be on a super team,” Barkley said on Fred Ennette’s “Unnecessary Roughness” podcast.
“It doesn’t matter what option you are. Sports are about competition. It’s about competition. Like, I admire Patrick Ewing for trying to bring a championship to New York. I admire Reggie Miller for trying to bring a championship. I admire Michael Jordan for not leaving when they got beat by the Pistons every year. He didn’t pack up and say, ‘Let me play with Magic [Johnson] or [Larry] Bird.’”
“There’s something to be said — When Dirk Nowitzki finally won the championship — he could be like: ‘Yes, I did this.’ It’s easy to get a bunch of superstars or really good players together and say, ‘Let’s build a super team.'”
When pressed about the notion that Barkley played on a Super Team with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler by Ennette, Barkley disagreed. “We weren’t no good,” Barkley said.
“First of all, I got traded. Scottie [Pippen] tried to join up, but I had nothing left in the tank. That’s about the same. We never thought about that in our prime. We weren’t any good in Houston.”
Clyde Drexler disagreed with his Barkley’s assessment.
“I would consider that a super team,” Drexler told me last month.
“They’ve been happening for years. Bill Russell played with five Hall of Famers at the same time and that’s why he won 11 championships in 13 years.”
Drexler also says that Magic Johnson’s Lakers were super teams as were Larry Bird’s Celtics.
“You’ve got Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], [James] Worthy, Magic [Johnson], c’mon,” Drexler said.
“And then you got [Ben] McAdoo, Mychal Thompson, you’ve got Byron Scott, A.C. Green, Kurt Rambis; all these great players–Michael Cooper–same time playing very high level. That’s what super teams are all about and then.”
Enter Byron Scott to the conversation. The three-time Los Angeles Lakers NBA champ agrees with Drexler.
“Absolutely,” Byron Scott told me on Scoop B Radio.
“We didn’t call it a super team back in those days because Jerry West was a master at drafting guys and making trades to make that dream such a super team, but no one looked at them and said “that’s a super team.” They just said they were great teams with great talent. I mean, we played the right way, everybody played to win basketball games, nobody played for the notoriety, nobody plays for the glamor, everybody played to win. And when you look at our team from back then, yeah that was a super team.”
Byron Scott has the distinction of playing against Michael Jordan during his playing days and being teammates with NBA greats like Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. Scott has also coached NBA all stars Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Jason Kidd.
The super team trend is here to stay. Exhibit A: The Golden State Warriors.
“I have no problem with Golden State or Kevin Durant joining that team, I have no problem with that,” said Scott.
“When you are a free agent, that’s exactly what it is, you have the options to do whatever you want or to join whatever team you want to join and as long as they have the cap space to be able to afford you. So, watching Golden State right now, to me, a lot of people are hating on them now, you have DeMarcus Cousins joining them, but you know that’s the luxury of winning. Everybody wants to play with winners and I think that’s exactly what’s happening with Golden State right now.”