Video: Charles Barkley calls Sixers the ‘stupidest organization in the history of sports’ for playing Joel Embiid with an injured back
TNT analyst Charles Barkley didn’t hold back during Thursday’s double-header that featured the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers, harshly judging the Sixers for their decision to play Joel Embiid through a back injury:
“Let me just say this about the Philadelphia 76ers: they got to be the stupidest organization in the history of sports,” said Barkley. “They got a franchise player who’s had a bad back and is injury-prone — he can barely walk and you got him out there playing a regular-season game. You have to be the stupidest organization … He’s hurt!
“You gave the guy $150 million dollars, he’s got a bad back, he’s clearly laboring. Why would you play him? Sometimes your owner and coaches have to protect you from your own stupidity. There was many times I played in a basketball game and I shouldn’t have played.”
For as much of an old-school player he can be, Sir Charles has a point. Embiid has a history of injuries, and the Sixers have proven to be lacking a certain jolt at both ends of the floor when he isn’t around.
Handing the Pacers a 120-96 beatdown put them in a tie at 3.5 games back from the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, but the game was rather meaningless, considering the complications that could arise if Embiid re-injured his back.
Embiid played 35 minutes and posted a near-triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, sprinkling in three blocks and a steal for good measure. But the pregame footage suggests he wasn’t all that right heading into Thursday’s tilt, making this a risky play by a Sixers team that has deep playoff run aspirations.