Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith Learned an Important Lesson After Seeing a Head Coach Lose His Job
If you have any passing familiarity with Spiderman, you’ll recognize the famous line, “With great power comes great responsibility.” While it’s easy to write that off as a platitude intended to provide a fictional character with some motivation (and give the audience a bit of a moral, to boot), the cliche usually does hold water in real life. Just ask Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith about that.
During an appearance on MaXed Out, Smith remembered a time that he and his famous coworker called for a head coach to be fired and saw him lose his job. In that moment, being right wasn’t much solace; instead, they learned a valuable lesson.
Kenny Smith remembers realizing the influence he has on ‘Inside the NBA’
If you regularly watch Inside the NBA, it’s easy to treat the show as part of the furniture. The broadcast — or, more specifically, the ideas espoused by the former pros on the panel — can have quite an influence on the way certain topics or viewed. That can be a good thing, but in at least one situation, it gave Kenny Smith pause.
“We had a day where I said one thing on the show, and Charles backed it up,” the UNC product explained on Bovada’s MaXed Out. “And the coach got fired the next day. So, me and Charles walked into the back, and we said we could never do that again. We should never say that a guy shouldn’t have his job because that was like 11 years ago. Since that day, we’ve never said anything like, ‘This guy should be fired,’ [or] that ‘I don’t understand why.’ Because we didn’t understand the influence we had on media.”
While it’s not 100% clear which coach Smith was talking about — I couldn’t find any clips of the panel calling for a coach’s head, and beyond that, it’s impossible to know if the 11-year timeframe is accurate — four bench bosses did lose their job during the 2011-12 season. Paul Westphal (Sacramento Kings), Flip Saunders (Washington Wizards), Mike D’Antoni (New York Knicks), and Nate McMillan (Portland Trail Blazers) were all fired during the strike-shortened campaign.
It’s also worth noting that, despite Kenny the Jet’s assertion that he and Barkley learned a lesson about their influence, Sir Charles can sometimes seem ignorant of his role in shaping the narrative around certain topics. When discussing Kevin Durant’s supposed need to win a championship somewhere other than Golden State, Chuck insisted that being a metaphorical bus driver had nothing to do with fans or the media. Instead, that is (theoretically) how pros talked about greatness and viewed their peers. He seemed to be overlooking two facts, though. First, he was speaking as a member of the media. Secondly, by speaking about the standard on Inside the NBA, that was shaping the narrative among fans.
But, hey, at least the Inside the NBA crew isn’t calling for anyone to lose their job. That’s a positive, even if the principle behind it doesn’t transfer across the board.