Calling the Western Conference's outlook daunting would be an understatement. LeBron James just joined the Lakers, and DeMarcus Cousins just completed the Warriors' ongoing quest to make a literal All-Star team. Charles Barkley, the ever outspoken TNT analyst, is not a fan of the trend.
"I would rather not win than be on a super team," Barkley told Fred Ennette on the Unnecessary Rougness 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.'"
As we all know by now, super teams aren't new. The Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat and now the Warriors are some of the most notable. Barkley's scuffles with "Inside the NBA" co-host Shaquille O'Neal frequently go viral, with the former bashing O'Neal for playing on teams with incredible talent such as Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
When Barkley was questioned about joining the Rockets before the 1996 season, Barkley rebuked the idea that that was the same.
"We weren't no good," he 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."
Of course, Barkley is leaving out his reaction to that trade.
"I'm very excited; obviously it's something I wanted to do," he had told Phoenix TV station KSAZ in 1996. "Houston was my first priority."
Barkley, of course, never did win a championship with that team, and he was not good with the Rockets, putting up his lowest point totals since he was a rookie.
Super teams, for better or for worse, are just the way of the NBA now. They have been since the Celtics started the arms race by getting Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen prior to the 2007 season.
Now, the onus is on the rest of the NBA to get better. With many already crowning the Warriors NBA champions, we'll continue to hear about this throughout the 2018-19 NBA season.