Posted December 12, 2012

Barkley calls Heat stars ‘sensitive’ after James tells him to ‘shut up’ about Wade

Ben Golliver, Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade dismissed Charles Barkley’s critique of his game. (Jeffrey Phelps/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Welcome to Round 3 in this month’s war of words between TNT commentator Charles Barkley and the Heat.

Barkley threw the first punch, noted, when he suggested that Dwyane Wade would need to adjust his game because of diminishing athleticism at age 30.

“The toughest thing for Dwyane Wade is understanding that he’s starting to lose his talent and now he has to learn how to play below the basket,” said Barkley, who worked as a color analyst on site in Miami during the broadcast [of a Heat-Spurs game last month]. “The toughest thing when you’re a great player or very athletic, when you can’t jump over a building anymore, you have to learn how to play.”

Wade, who missed the London Olympics after having knee surgery in July, is averaging 20.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals this season. All of those numbers are down even though his playing time, slightly more than 33 minutes per game, is right at last year’s mark.

After Barkley’s initial comments, Wade scored 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting against the Hornets on Saturday and 26 points on 11-for-13 shooting against the Hawks on Monday. Wade’s two best shooting outings of the season came on the heels of a 13-point, 3-for-13 performance in a loss to the Knicks last week. The Heat, who seem to lack a little urgency this season, won both games in which Wade starred to improve to 14-5, one game behind the East-leading Knicks.

LeBron James took the opportunity to stand up for Wade after Monday’s victory, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

”It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up,” James said. ”I mean, the man’s shooting 80 percent from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That’s like crazy, right? That’s why [he is] who he is.”

It also gave James reason to chuckle about Barkley being injected into the debate.

“I love it,” he said. “When someone’s not saying stuff about me, I’m glad somebody finally got off me for a change.”

Wade, meanwhile, blew off Barkley, according to Fox Sports Florida.

“I forgot all about that guy,” Wade said with no apparent joking when asked if what Barkley says motivates him.

The verbal Ping-Pong match continued Tuesday, when Barkley was asked by Newsday about the Heat’s response to his criticism.

“Oh my God,” Barkley said. “These guys are so sensitive.”

A simple glance at Wade’s Player Efficiency Rating over the years bears out Barkley’s general point: that Wade’s most productive years are behind him and that adjustments will need to be made. Here’s a visual. The dip in 2008, of course, was due to a knee injury that required surgery.


Aside from 2008, you see a fairly smooth and predictable growth/decline curve, with a peak in 2009, Wade’s age-27 season. His decline since 2010 is easily explained by the addition of James and Chris Bosh. Wade had said many times that he’s shifted into a secondary role to accommodate James, and decreased production is a natural result of that move.

As for this season, it’s interesting how close his PER is to the 2008 drop-off. While he’s logging his normal minutes, he hasn’t looked quite as explosive. It makes you wonder whether his productivity will pick up as the season progresses and he puts his most recent knee surgery farther in the rearview. Declining production or not, Wade, who turns 31 next month, remains incredibly effective. Among shooting guards who play at least 15 minutes a night, he trails only Kobe Bryant in PER, right where you would expect him to be. His post-30 “slide” is taking place from a very high peak and isn’t anywhere near a crisis point.


while I'm no fan of Barkley I think he nailed it...twice.  Clearly Wade isn't the same as he was just a couple of years ago...and clearly there is some 'sensitivity issues' on the part of Wade and James.  In fact, it occurs to me that what Barkley is really suggesting is Wade needs to do like Jordan did...learn how to play better below the rim.  You can see a change in Jordans game, he stopped driving to the rim as much and actually started posting more (among other things).  Wade should have taken this as an encouragement rather than some kind of insult....



QDV 1 Like

"Is that your dad?"

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

The way to shut up Barkley is either with a giant pie or by playing well and making him look like an idiot. Wade's PER speaks for itself and most fans already know that he's declining and needs to adjust his game the way EVERY great player has with time.


 @M as in Mancy Ur such a sissy and sensitive too. It ain't like Barkley saying Wade sux or an idiot. As a commentator, he saying Wade might be losing his step. He's an analyst, a hall of 3 words, shut up Mancy 

leehwgoc 1 Like

 @M as in Mancy Thing is, though, great shooting-guards throughout history that remained great into their 30s have all had one thing in common:  elite perimeter-shooting.


And Wade isn't an elite perimeter-shooter.


Wade is going to have to discover how to shoot from the outside like Jordan, Bryant, and Allen for the first time in his career, or else his decline is not only going to continue, it's going to accelerate.


That's all Barkley is saying, and he's right.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @leehwgoc Agree. Wade has to adjust and add some new wrinkles to his game as he ages. MJ added a post-up game that could tag 3 fouls on a guy in a hurry. Kobe makes, not takes 2000 jumpshots everyday in the offseason.


Teaming with Lebron actually should make him excited about polishing his game because LBJ can do all the slashing and let Wade take advantage of open looks. Unless he's golfing or distracted by a piece of food, Barkley is the most objective, astute commentator we have.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @CarlosBMorarles1  @leehwgoc


Congratulations on reading comprehension. Re-read what I wrote.  I agree with Barkley and I quote myself: "Barkley is the most objective, astute commentator we have."


There's a 3rd grade english class waiting for you somewhere, then come back to us.


 @M as in Mancy  @leehwgoc Charles is a very fair guy. Damn man, just cuz he was being honest about ur team.... u think he's bad commentator? Are you kidding me? He's giving analytical commentary. So should he be saying every good stuff? He already said Lebron is best player. Damn man, people r idiots...

rened1948 2 Like

Humility is never the virtue of the three stooges in Miami. To criticize them seems preposterous. How dare they be criticized, but there is nobody in the NBA right now who is more classy than Kevin Durant.


 @rened1948 I dont understand the big deal about the comments... LBJ was asked about the comments, and he defended his teammate... end of story - this is overblown media at its finest

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

 @AaronDunckel  @rened1948

Chuck is paid to provide an informed opinion and I wouldn't expect anything less than a teammate getting another's back. No big deal here. Prove it on the court 


 @rened1948 Oh, shut up.  All LBJ did was speak up for a teammate.  That's a virtue, not a crime.


As for Wade, of course he's upset to be criticized, justified or not.  He's not paid to be humble.  None of these players are.