Reporting David Sutta
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley has been highly critical of the Miami Heat throughout the 2010-2011 season. But when it finally came time to face the music, or chants, of the Miami Heat faithful, Barkley wanted Heat fans to know he thinks they’re number one.
Barkley was preparing to go live for the TNT post game show, “Inside the NBA,” when the crowd behind the set at the AmericanAirlines Arena began chanting “Barkley Sucks.”
Apparently, the crowd finally got to Barkley because as the fans kept going, he raised both arms and gave all of the fans the finger.
Click here to see the video (source: The Jorge Sedano Show).
Barkley has called the Heat a bunch of whiners, among other things he has said critical of the team. But, he gives it to other teams just as much, so he isn’t just picking on the Heat.
But, the fans went a step too far as Charles began talking during the TNT show. A fan threw a shirt or towel up at Barkley, which hit Barkley in the head.
This prompted an angry response from Barkley.
“Don’t make me come over there. Don’t make me come over there now,” Barkley scolded the crowd. “Cause if I come over there, there’s going to be hell to pay.”
His fellow commentator, former NBA star Kenny Smith, told Barkley in jest, “I’ll come with you Chuck. We’ll go down there as a team.”
Barkley appeared on WQAM Monday morning to talk about the incident and said he wasn’t bothered by the fans’ reaction.
“They were telling me I suck,” he said. “They were telling me I never won a championship. Like, ‘Come on, give me something better than that, dude.’
“I always laugh at that statement, ‘You didn’t get a ring. ‘I’m like, dude, you work at McDonald’s. My life’s a lot better than yours. You relax.’ “
Barkley said the rough moments were more the exception than the rule.
“Most of the fans are cool,” he said. “There’s always going to be a couple of idiots. People think if you don’t pick their team to win, you don’t like them.”
South Florida sports fans were not surprised by Barkley’s antics. Heat fan Jimmie Davis told CBS4′s David Sutta, “He just being Charles Barkley. He’s typical Charles Barkley.”
Jose Moranta didn’t think the t-shirt toss was warranted, but said he looked forward to the Heat winning the series even more now.
“He (Barkley) is going to eat his words when the Heat win the series,” Moranta said.
Augustine Pabone, a torn Bull/Heat fan summed it up best, “Chuck is a superstar because he’s one person who can get away with saying anything he wants and there is no recourse. So I think that’s part of the appeal. You have someone who doesn’t worry about being politically correct.”
After spending the day debating the issue, TNT has now decided to move all of it’s post-game coverage to inside the AmericanAirlines Arena instead of outside with the fans.