Monday, October 27th, 2008 at 10:50 pm  |  51 responses

Links: Lunch with Kenny and Charles

Wait, Chuck said what?

by Lang Whitaker

So our friends at Turner Sports held their annual preseason media luncheon for a handful of writers (including myself and Ben Osborne) earlier today. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Frank Caliendo, Steve Harvey or Kyra Sedgwick as “The Closer.” Between Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Turner Sports president David Levy, however, there was plenty of great basketball talk. Here are some notes I took between laughs…

• When Barkley walked into the conference room on the 10th floor of the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, he said, “Hey Kenny, let’s ask for a raise here in front of everybody!”

• After it was announced that anything said during the entire lunch would be on the record, Chuck said, “I never understood ‘off the record.’ You can’t just say crazy sh*t and then say it’s ‘off the record.’”

• Charles said he’s excited about the upcoming season and that he likes the Lakers to win the title “clearly,” as long as Andrew Bynum is healthy.

• Kenny said “the top four teams are all equal,” but he never said which teams he ranks as the top four. Kenny did say he’s picking the Houston Rockets to win it all because they’re deep and can match up with any team in the League. Charles likes Houston, though he thinks Ron Artest is “wrapped too tight.” Chuck said the first month of the season will tell us everything we need to know about the Rockets.

• Kenny said the Rockets can match up every great player in the League: Yao Ming can guard any center, Ron Artest can guard any swingman, and he thinks Rafer Alston is a top point guard. I was going to ask who exactly Rick Adelman could match up with but the subject changed before I could get the question in.

• Charles thinks people are overrating Portland, and that people should “nix” any comparisons between Bill Russell and Greg Oden, because Russell was one of the greatest players of all time and Oden hasn’t played a game, so there’s nothing in common between Oden and Russell. Except for one thing: “Other than being black, that’s about it.”

• Someone asked about the ratings bounce last year for the NBA Playoffs, and Levy said, “Bringing back strong brands is great for television.” For some reason, the writers from New York-centric media outlets — which was pretty much everyone except for me and Ben — started asking a bunch of questions about the Knicks. Zzzz…

• Levy pointed out that by NBA rules, no team is allowed to appear on TNT (or ESPN/ABC) during the regular season more than ten times. Barkley chimed in: “This theory that we can only show a team so much, that’s stupid. We can only show good teams X amount of times? Who the hell do they want us to show, Oklahoma City and Sacramento?”

• Kenny: “I’ve been on a bad team before.”
Charles: “They were bad because you were on it!”

• Charles thinks the Knicks will be better this season because they have a better coach. “This coach probably won’t try to kill himself,” he said with a laugh. Then an awkward silence fell over the room, so I asked, “Everything is on the record, right?” And it was.

• After about half an hour of talking about the Knicks, I asked what Chuck and Kenny thought about the Suns. “They’re too old,” Charles said. “The two best players are 35.” While Ben and I tried to figure out if Charles remembered that Amare Stoudemire was only 25, Chuck muttered, “I don’t like old teams.”

• One New York-based writer went back out of the room to the buffet line and filled his plate three times. I’m just saying.

• Kenny on the Knicks: “Everyone loves a train wreck. Some people like horror movies.” David Levy said he told Donnie Walsh that the Knicks weren’t on TNT at all this season and Walsh said it was OK because the Knicks “hadn’t earned the right.”

• The next thing in my notebook was this:
I also underlined that three times.

• Charles said what’s happened to the Knicks the last few years is “a travesty. Patrick Ewing is rolling over in his grave.”

• Charles said he loves OJ Mayo and expects big things from him. A writer from New York said he thinks the Nets will get a big year from “Chris Roberts-Douglas.” I wanted to add that Chris Douglas-Roberts will be good, too. But I didn’t.

• Someone brought up Nielsen ratings, and Charles got all fired up. “I’ve been railing about this for years!” According to Charles, it makes no sense to give ratings boxes to small cross-sections of America and then multiply their viewing patterns out to determine what all of America is watching. “If you gave black people Nielsen boxes, ‘Sanford And Son’ would be the number one rated show in America. If you gave them to Hispanic people, Telemundo would be number one. If you gave them to rich people it would probably be…’Desperate Houswives.’ They have no idea how many people are watching sh*t.”

• About 45 minutes into the meal it was mentioned that this is the 25th anniversary of Turner and the NBA working together (five years with TBS back in the day, and 20 years with TNT). Surprising, because it doesn’t seem that long.

• I missed Ernie Johnson not being there.

• Talk turned to Turner recently taking over NBA TV and NBA.com. I wanted to suggest some really good programming ideas we at SLAM have for NBA TV, but I’m saving those in case any of the people there at NBA TV ever return my emails.

• Charles and Kenny both cautiously noted that they hope NBA TV doesn’t end up diluting what they and Ernie have historically brought on their one night a week. Charles said of Turner Sports: “I am concerned. This is going to be an interesting year for us. We have a lot of sh*t going on.”

• It was mentioned that L-Wolves owner Glen Taylor was recently unanimously elected to be the head of the NBA’s Board of Governors, the same Glen Taylor who years ago was caught trying to cheat the rules. Were Kenny and/or Charles outraged by this?
Kenny: Nah.
Charles: What does the Board of Governors do? We don’t give a sh*t about the Board of Governors.

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  • http://www.inanemusings.com michelle

    Thanks for the recap. The off-season has been too long. I’ve missed Charles and his on-the-record comments!

  • http://www.youtube.com/tripledouble TripleDouble


  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    wow turner has NBATV too now? thanks for the recap and i can’t wait to hear charles tomorrow night after the short handed blazers drop the lakers. RUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYY!

  • Rudy

    if only every sport had the luxury of such talented half-time commentators.

  • Hayesfan

    Great recap! Thanks for sharing the info.

  • Kimmie More

    Chuck loves dropping the s-bomb alot, doesn’t he? Can’t wait for tommorow!

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    Charles, Charles, Charles. IT WAS THE DAUGHTER! Fancy throwing TNT under the bus like that. Wait… confused!

  • Tommy Vercetti

    Charles is just classic as always.

  • http://heavyasheaven.blogspot.com Kid Presto

    what they hell will charles not say? They just need to give him his own show and let him vent on everyone. D.L. hughley has his own show now and he is less funny than he was when he was young. Charles just gets better with age. slu.

  • KA

    gee, kenny, an ex rocket and fellow ny pg thinks rafer is the sheet, hmm. the best compliment id give skip these days is consumate, and i have to cross fingers not to jinx him too.

  • Homie

    Gotta love Chuck.

  • RV

    Charles is the craziest sane person ever…….

  • RV

    and he’s wrong about the first month for Houston showing it all, i actually can’t believe he’d say that, well i can, but its so obviously wrong..

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    Kenny: “I’ve been on a bad team before.”
    Charles: “They were bad because you were on it!”

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    We don’t give a sh*t about the Board of Governors.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling chiqo

    good ol’ turner sports. i remember being happy back in the day when we finally got tnt because it meant i could watch ball and fraggle rock. already.

  • chintao

    Curious. Lang mentions the buffet, but not the open bar? The way Chuck was going off, there MUST have been an open bar. Sheeit. He even made an Isiah suicide-attempt joke.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Everyone loves Chuck. Even if they respectfully disagree with some of his statements.
    co-sign RV on both parts.

  • underdog

    I honestly surprised Chuck didn’t mention Oden’s age when he spoke about the comparison to Bill Russel. And maybe the suicide joke was a bit too much.

  • sefos

    i would take charles over karl malone or the duncanbot any day. we might not win as many rings, but we’ll have a great ‘ole time…

  • Jim Mora

    you might win the same number of rings with barkley and malone, which is a non-positive integer

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    barkley is my hero, lang and osborne going to the media luncheon? LUCKY! oh, and how ridiculous is that 10 times per season per team crap?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Chuck is the man.

  • riggs

    only charles can say all black people would watch sanford & son……..ya big dummy!

  • Michael Lee

    Dear God, why did I have to like the Knicks? And why did u curse me with a loyalty gene? Amen

  • riggs

    whoopi goldberg needs to coach the knicks.

  • http://www.ngunioamosotho.com Nguni

    charles is funny. wud love to hang out with him for an hour. I’d b on the floor laughing the whole time.

  • littleshotlarry

    Charles is the man. I disagree with everything he ever says pretty much. But I’d invite him to dinner every night.

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy

    “They were bad because you were on it!” Damn(with fully respect), he’s the man…

  • adeleke abdullateef

    what good i just wanna say you crew are doing agreat job.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Chuck, beneath his bluster, had a decent point about the Nielsen ratings. I remember when Martin was a popular show among black people, but was only mediocre as far as Nielsen ratings. I know that show was getting undervalued because black people are underepresented among those with Nielsen boxes. They need a better system to determine who is watching what shows. I’m convinced the NBA has way more viewers than people think.

  • KA

    ma’in! that chick that went on to be damon wayans yv wife was fiiiiiiiiine

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq al Haydar

    I’m always amused when Chuck declares that a healthy, robust person is “rolling over in his grave.” I also like it when he concludes that Argentina is in Europe.

  • riggs

    i said jeromes in the houseeeeeee, i said jeromes in the house, watch ya mouth, without a doubttt

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    Tariq! hadn’t see you in awhile. And yes, chuck is awesome.

  • http://www.obviated.blogspot.com nick

    Lang: I think everyone has ideas for NBATV, given that i’m pretty sure the “boom goes the dynamite” guy hosts every show. They own the rights to everything…there’s so much they could do. Why not, over a month long period, play the entirety, of, say, the 1986 playoffs? Or a whole series? Make people get invested in their programming over a period of time as opposed to on the occasional random channel flip. For late night/time filler programing, as opposed to replaying “fantasy report with rick kamla”, why not just play highlights set to music? Who among us hasn’t spent hours over on the youtubes watching clip videos? why can’t NBA TV get a piece of that?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Yeah, thanks to TNT for good food, Charles for being funny and Lang for the recap. No thanks to the folks who are addicted to the Knicks. One correction: CB said Artest, “isn’t wrapped too tight,” which is funny and true as well.

  • doyouwantmore

    Sorry but I think Charles Barkley is…kind of dumb. I mean he talks without thinking first and the things he says are a novelty, but not particularly insightful. The Isaiah comment he made about killing himself? Come on man.

  • Bro D.

    I like watching the occasional bad team on TNT if only for the reason of Charles and Kenny making fun of them. And because I’m a Bobcats fan *shakes head*

  • Dallas J

    i refuse to believe they didnt mention “The Closer.”

  • jb21

    doyouwantmore, you are wrong, Charles is awesome

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Chuck is and always will be the man. Saw him on Conan the other day, hilarious.

  • ber

    i’ve missed these guys!

  • chintao

    @ doyouwantmore ==> Chuck just says whatever wild stuff comes into his mind. He’s trying to entertain, not win a Fulbright Fellowship.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I said on another post NBATV’s director of programming needs an @sswhipping.
    Come on. The could dedicate a week to the world’s greatest point guard and show like marathons of Magic, Oscar, Isaiah and Stockton’s best games. Same thing with big man. They could have a week dedicated to the greatest offensive teams in league history. Let us really see what those great Denver teams could do compared to the Suns today. Was defense really that tougher. How about a week dedicated to the greatest overtime games, or greatest indivdiual assist performance, scoring performances and rebounding performances. The possibilities are endless. Don’t even mention their wack highlight shows.

  • Bruno

    i really miss having NBA TV! :S:S:S
    it sucks that i can’t have it here in brasil… just through internet.
    TNT’s Halftime is amazingly great… i agree with the guy that said every sport should have such type of good commentators.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Can you imagine if Chuck wasn’t on the show, and we had to listen to Kenny say stupid ish like “Skip is a top point guard”, and “Houston will win it all”? Maybe if Kenny didn’t wear such horrible, cheap looking suits, I could stomach his babble a bit better. On a side note, the big wigs at TNT should bring the Dream on the show and make Kenny “the pet” Smith kiss his feet, in appreciation of the titles Dream allowed him to be a part of.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    As the great O.C. would say: “It’s only right.”

  • Teddy-the-Bear


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Zee! : Maybe you should look in the mirror, because YOU are saying a lot of ret@rded sh!t here. First of all, Kenny and Charles are a dynamic duo on Inside the NBA. So show some respect. Second of all, if you really don’t believe that Houston has a CHANCE to win it all with the roster they’ve got, then really you shouldn’t watch basketball. Also, Rafer Alston IS a very solid point guard. Many NBA teams would benefit by having him and the Rockets definitely are. So shut your stupid @ss trap and show some respect, you little b!tch. Thanks, poser.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ doyouwantmore: Charles Barkley is smarter than you, so I don’t think you should worry too much about what he says.