Sir Charles will get an earful from Warrior fans, Bay Area residents
A consistent critic of the Golden State Warriors throughout their NBA playoff run this season, Charles Barkley could easily find himself on the other side of the verbal slams this weekend during the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.
The Oakland-based Warriors snagged the lowly eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs this past season, after finishing only two games over .500.
Their improbable playoff berth, marking the end of a 12-year absence from postseason play, and subsequent first-round defeat of the No. 1-seeded Dallas Mavericks inspired a proliferation of “We Believe” T-shirts, championing the Bay Area underdogs’ Cinderella story.
Naysayer Barkley was not among the hopeful, extending his jabs toward the entire Bay Area.
“I would rather stay on Alcatraz than San Francisco or Oakland,” Barkley said to his TNT television co-hosts. “You know how bad it is? I like Sacramento better than both those cities.”
The typically brash comments inspired a flourish of spirited anti-Barkley sentiment throughout the bay, including a photo contest on http://www.warriorsworld.net, featuring faked classics of Barkley; including the former Phoenix Suns powerhouse dressed as psychic Miss Cleo. Another one depicted a little yellow flag bearing Barkley’s face planted proudly in a freshly laid dog turd.
Arthur Hervey said he is considering replaying Barkley comments on the big screen at Harrah’s Center Stage, where the entertainer performs five nights a week.
“When you talk for a living something like that can happen,” Hervey said. “His comments came out more serious than they were meant to be.”
Barkely’s routine during the tournament is well know. After playing his round, he will gamble until around 10 p.m. when he comes to the Center Stage to join “Arty, The Party.”
“I am definitely going to bring it up,” Hervey said about Barkley’s Bay Area slights. “I want to prod him about it, that’s for sure.”
San Francisco native and public relations point man for the tournament, Phil Weidinger, took Barkley’s Bay Area diss with a grain of salt.
“That’s vintage Barkley,” said Weidinger on Friday. “He knew he was jacking people. He was just laughing and having some fun.”
Barkley’s comments did get Weidinger’s gears turning, but plans for a “What should Charles Barkley know about the Bay Area?” promotion fell through.
The promotion would have had the San Francisco Chronicle taking submissions, with the winner receiving the prize of being Barkley’s caddie during this weekend’s golf tournament, according to Weidinger.
While Barkley may have been spared the annoyance of a caddie with an ax to grind, California fans who enjoy both golf and Warriors basketball aren’t likely to easily forget Barkley’s opinions on the bay.
“They’ll be barkin’ at him, but he knows how to work a crowd.” said Weidinger. “He likes people and that’s real obvious.”
Hervey confirmed “Chuck” is a genuinely nice guy.
“He’s very generous,” Hervey said. “He usually buys everyone shots of Patrone and he tips the bartenders well no matter if he’s winning or losing.”
— Tim Parsons contributed to this story.