Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 10:30 am  |  46 responses

Rick Barry and His Special Brand of Bitter, Old-Man ‘Truth’

And stay the hell off his lawn while you’re at it: “On why he isn’t coaching in the NBA: ‘People don’t like the hear the truth all the time. People ask you questions, but they don’t necessarily want to hear the answer’; On what’s wrong with the NBA: ‘The problem isn’t the league itself, it’s the game itself. We’re not teaching young people how to play the game anymore…if you’re an incredible athlete and have very little skill, you can get to the NBA.’”

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  • Scott

    Wow Rick, would it make you happy if everyone was taught to shoot underhand free throws just like you?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Why do people (reporters?) even ask him questions? And why pretend like any of us (besides Jukai) give a sh!t what he thinks?

  • http://docfunk.blogspot.com Doc Funk

    And what’s with the price of milk? Back in my day, you could pay a colored boy a nickel to bring you a gallon. Now cashiers get mad when I write a check for $3.67. -Sent via Jitterbug

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    “if you’re an incredible athlete and have very little skill, you can get to the NBA.’”

    He’s really not wrong there.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar


  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    my posts keep disappearing

  • Prison Mike

    I think he should coach. Just so he can prove he is right, or get prven wrong. We need a guy who hates the NBA coaching in the NBA.

  • Donn

    He is bitter…but he’s pretty on point with a lot of the things that he says…

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

    Rick needs a diaper change.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I have to agree with the very good athlete little skill arguement. There is and has been a lot of players in the nba who don’t deserve to be there.

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

    All you have to do is watch a D-Leauge game or watch the And 1 tour and it’s quite obvious that freakish athletic ability does not get you into the NBA.
    I hate when people say dumb stuff that is easily refuted by using their eyes.

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

    The funny thing about the athletic skills argument is that the majority of the folks who make to the league and are massive bums who clearly do not belong are those individuals with “intangibles” who lack athletic skills. You know, the big stiffs who got to right schools and make the right people remember their youth.
    Just saying.

  • Juliusj14

    He didnt saying that the people with athletic abilities are useless. He is just saying that people are really relying more athleticism than skill. It is true that fundamental skills are not as prevalent as they once were. He makes a valid point if actually think about how much better many players would be if they focused more on fundamental skills instead on relying on athleticism. Players that relying on more on athleticism dont last in the NBA because athleticism detiorates over time. Just look at Kenyon Martin, the detioration of his athleticism has slowed down his production tremendously.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Jamario Moon…..Harold Miner…..

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    The NBA is a commodity. Fans want to watch super atheletic players doing things they could only dream of, hnot guys using screens effectively and shooting underhand FTs. Not to mention how much of an advantage great atheleticism is. I mean just look at guys like Rondo, and…ahem…LEBRON. If you could win a chip with a team full of undersized, slow footed, guys with great skills and “high basketball IQs” Jerry Sloan or LB would’ve tried it.
    I just feel like there’s a latent racism in Barry’s comments, like he feels as though today’s atheletic wonders get so much more credit than “skilled” players like him and his sons, but don’t deserve it because they don’t conform to his ideal.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Gerald Green, James White, Keon Clark, Eddie Robinson… why weren’t they all stars???

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Co-sign Allenp, people have to stop exaggerating the athlete-with-no-skill stereotype. Even getting to the hoop in the L is a skill. James White never dunks in games even though he can jump to the moon. Why? Because he can’t get to the freakin basket. AND working on your body to get bigger, stronger, faster shows work ethic. Nothing wrong with that. Did they have 7 footers that could bring it up and jack a 3 when Barry played? Nostalgia rhymes with dementia, I’m just saying.

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

    To reiterate:
    You don’t get to make a career in the NBA without skill. You might, MIGHT make it there without an NBA level, but you don’t stick around for long without one.
    I’m not arguing that fundamentals or certain aspects of the game are underrepresented. It’s obvious they are. But, it’s silly to say people are making it to the league with no skill and just natural ability. Those people are few and far between.
    This is a typical comment by a bitter old man who is pissed he doesn’t get the recognition he thinks he deserves. I hate it when abrasive people whine.
    Look, if you want to just “tell it like it is” then deal with the damn consequences. If you know people don’t like you refusing to use tact, and you still behave that way, then you need to take your lumps when you get shunned.
    Rick Barry knew he was being a d*ck when he was a player. He admits it. He just didn’t care. Now, he wants people to feel sorry for him because he chose to live his life as a d*ck for no other reason besides that’s just what he wanted to do.
    I’m not falling for it.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Allenp: All you have to do is look at Tyrus Thomas and it’s quite obvious that freakish athletic ability does not get you into the NBA.

  • Roberto

    Everyone is right to some degree.

    Yes it is true that the game is changing, back in Barry’s day they concentrated more on the fundamentals and part of the reason is because they didn’t have the athletic ability that the players now do. Rick Barry, Jerry West, Bill Russell; they were all great players and had some athletic ability, but knew how to do the basics really well. Players now like LeBron James, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard are all pretty good athletes but they have more flaws in their game. LeBron can drive and dunk on anyone but doesn’t have a very good jump shot, he does get streaky, but not great. Nash is a great offensive player, but isn’t a great defender, Dwight Howard is a freak of nature, but not a great free throw shooter. These players are able to hide their weaknesses because of their strengths, which is a lot of athletic ability.

    Also @ Z, the 7-footers who can shoot 3′s you talk about are mostly from other countries because they work on fundamentals more than American’s do.


    Granted there are some exceptions like Rasheed, but the percantages are probably pretty one sided.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Not sure what you’re trying to say Teddy…
    Its not that great atheletic ability won’t help someone make it to the league, but you can’t thrive in the NBA without serious skills.

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    It’s funny, because I DO agree with Rick Barry about the lack of fundamentals in our NBA (look at Tim Duncan.. Dude is a mildly athletic 4 who, because he is fundamentally flawless, is considered the best power forward in the game). However, I do agree with Allenp that Rick is just looking for attention here, nothing more, really. Dude treated players like garbage when he was in the NBA and now no one wants to associate with him so he’s using any interviewing chance he gets as a soapbox.

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    Ciolkstar: There is a difference between ‘skill’ and ‘fundamentals.’ One can be trained to be very skillful but lack fundamentals. Tyrus Thomas is a perfect example.. dude DOES has some skill. No fundamentals. Look at Amare: dude has PLENTY of skill. No fundamentals.
    Rick Barry’s right in a of of ways, but wrong in the big school of thought: one does not always NEED fundamentals to win. What do we play to do? Win. When a High School is winning games by giving the ball to Amare and telling him to dunk it at EVERY chance he gets, why teach him anything else?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Damn, I lost a post. TD is flat out better than every other 4 in the history of the game. What fundamentals does he have that KG or Dirk don’t have? He’s just better than them. Being an excellent shooter is not a fundamental, it’s a skill possessed by few. Correct me if I’m wrong but Gervin, Magic, Dr. J… they weren’t exactly great shooters. / Tyrus Thomas has plenty of skills. His problem is not skills nor fundamentals, it’s decision-making. He doesn’t know when to do what.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Why am I not surprised that Jukai agrees with Rick Barry? I won’t argue that players today have more skills or are more fundamentally sound than in past eras, but I think that has more to do with those who teach the game and the realities of the modern pro game, not the other way around. Atheleticism rules, not because nobody care about fundamentals, but because it is more effective/neccesary for success in the NBA. Also, I think Z is right about Tim not having “fundamental” advantages over KG or Dirk (just look at their comparitive shooting forms) he is just a better decision maker, more consistent mentally and a more committed defender.
    In the end this is more about a bitter old man realizing he’s been forgotten and not being able to deal with it maturely than it is about “players today”.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    since this is about basketball READ MY NEW PIECE ON HIBACHI. CLICK MY NAME

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    Z: Uhmmm.. is that a joke? Tim Duncan is better in the post/better passer/better footwork/better at spacing/better teammate/better… I mean, god, how could you even say that? Do you know what the term fundamental means? Dirk isn’t entirely fundamental, his jumper is very odd, but yes, he’s very fundamental… once again, he’s from Europe, where they teach that. Garnett isn’t the most technically sound player.
    Why are we talking about shooting form? Did I not read the article properly, was Rick Barry just talking about shooting fundamentals? I’m so confused now. Why are we comparing the shooting form of Garnett, Dirk and Duncan?
    Of course, why is everyone having an open debate with me when Roberto/Eboy/Teddy/Juliusj14 agree with me?
    Mysteries of the world I guess. I’m still in shock over the Dirk/Garnett are as fundamental as Duncan remark.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Because you’re more fun to argue with than those other random commenters, and I know you’re the biggest living Rick Barry stan. Tim’s greatness is, IMO, the amalgamation of MANY factors, not just his fundamentals being better than Dirk and KGs (for comparison’s sake) I actually think his measured, and yes boring, disposition is a big part of it. His intelligence, footwork, competetiveness, etc… added to the god given talents he does have. He’s faster, stronger, bigger and longer than he gets credit for.

  • Bro. D.

    The refs let players in today’s game get away with a lack of fundamentals and certain skills to some extent, just my 2 cents.

  • JoeMaMa

    NBA isn’t real basketball. Anyone who loves the game watches the NBA because there are massive egos, giants, and jaw dropping plays. It’s entertainment. I watch it to be entertained. There are very few fundamentals. Say what you will about Rick Barry, the dude could ball. Big time. I don’t care about the messenger, though: the message is correct. The next time I see a four step travel I’m going to lose my mind. AND WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CUTTING DOWN ON THE WHINING IN THE LEAGUE?!?!!?

  • whooo!

    barry is probably too extreme, and we’re used to hearing his negativity, so we’re all biased one way. but i remember Charles & Kenny saying it well. they said after watching one game, that it’s not that the guys aren’t as skilled today, they just don’t know how to play. just sayin, other vets think it too.

  • Pigott17

    sadly i sorta agree,the day tht inorder to succed in basketball you had to have all the fundamentals and having athletisism helps are gone.but on the other hand people these days are just becoming more and more athletic and hell fake it till u make it.if all i could du was dunk,and i was darn gud at it and i could just destroy anyone wats the point in making urself learn other things?

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    People are confusing skills with fundamentals. You can have AMAZING skill and little fundamentals. They’re different.

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    ciolkstar: His footwork is very fundamental, but I digress: Duncan is better than most for a variety of reasons. Yet, I think his he is the greatest power forward of all time because he IS incredibly athletic but also incredibly intelligent and fundamental.
    As for being a huge Rick Barry fan, I can’t REALLY help that… you see, my Dad lived in Queens in the 70s, and in turn, I have no choice but to believe that both Rick Barry and Dr. J are two of the greatest single human beings to ever live. I’ve heard what they can do (or my father’s perception of what they could do when he saw them playing for the Nets) so many times that I could recite it in my sleep. Yet, Rick Barry himself also interests me. The dude scored over 35 points and nearly ten rebounds a game for a SEASON… He had a 30/6/6/3 season. The dude could downright ball. Yet, he’s relatively unknown, and never considered as a top-15 or top-20 NBA player-of-all-time. It’s very intriguing, to say the least. He must have been such a huge prick, that people are just trying to forget him. He’s like Kobe, except horrifyingly racist. That isn’t interesting?

  • http://fdklsf.com Jukai
  • JOE


  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    Don’t underrate Duncan’s athleticism. He is a lot more athletic than he gets credit for.

  • http://fdklf.com Jukai

    What: I actually said the dude is one of the most athletic 4s ever. What sets him apart from other uber athletic 4s is that he is also incredibly fundamental and intelligent (AND skilled). People have no idea how strong and fast Duncan is because he doesn’t need to showcase it to dominate.

  • Todd Spehr

    Rick Barry is one of the greatest forwards ever. Say whatever you want sir.

  • http://www.mykal1.blogspot.com MyKal

    Well using my super athletic (and fundamentally sound) arithmetic skills I have come to a conclusion. Patrick O’Bryant is in the League and as he has absolutely no skill (he has height,I don’t know if he has athleticism, but lets not put facts in the way of a good rant) he must be in the L for something. So by that logic, Prick Barry (thanks Jukai) is correct.

  • Tavoris

    Rick Barry is not coaching because his insufferable arrogance pisses people off. It’s sad that one of the greatest all-around players in the history of the game allows said arrogance to diminish the legacy he has.

    Larry Bird was probably the biggest jerk in the NBA during his playing days, but he is smart enough in his old age to know when to shut the hell up.

  • http://fdklsf.com Jukai

    Tavoris: The big difference between Rick Barry and Larry Bird was that Larry Legend was a prick to his opponents… The miami greyhound was a prick to his opponents and his teammates.

  • doyouwantmore

    You tell ‘em Rick. Gol’durned whippersnappers can’t even take a two-handed set shot anymore.

  • doyouwantmore

    And I actually agree with Jukai about Tim Duncan. I hate that.

  • Rome

    Dudes right, if you ever bought one of his instructional tapes, there was so much more to the game that I never knew, that if I had known to practice as a teen I would have at least made it to division 1 college ball.

    Vut instead of complaining why doesnt he just go coach high school ball.

  • chintao

    Rick should get the Oscar for his role in “Gran Torino”.