DALLAS — The Warriors built rivalries throughout these dynastic years that will go down in NBA history.
Along the road to championships, the Warriors slayed LeBron James’ Cavaliers, Chris Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers and James Harden’s Houston Rockets, to name a few. Their latest rivalry, though, is a bit more unorthodox.
It has developed off the court, on “Inside the NBA” pre and postgame show sets and outside of Chase Center. Charles Barkley’s feud with Warriors fans has become the NBA’s best rivalry in these playoffs so far. And there are plenty of chapters to the rivalry already.
Barkley, an outspoken critic of the Warriors’ style through the years, wasted no time instigating after the Mavericks beat Phoenix in Game 7, setting up a Golden State-Dallas matchup in the Western Conference finals. Barkley lamented a trip to San Francisco, calling the city “hell.” He also picked the Mavericks — who have won their first playoff series since 2011 — to beat the Warriors.
“The Mavs are going to be better at small ball because Luka (Dončić), no one can handle that guy one-on-one,” Barkley said on TNT. “If (Jalen) Brunson and (Spencer) Dinwiddie keep playing the way they’re playing, this team will be tough to beat.”
Warriors fans took exception to Barkley’s comments. After the Warriors’ Game 1 win Wednesday, fans outside Chase Center behind the “Inside” panel chanted “Chuck, you suck!” during the live show.
Host Ernie Johnson reminded Barkley that he said he “didn’t like” San Francisco. Barkley doubled down.
“I don’t dislike the area. I hate the area,” he said.
Draymond Green — who often appears on “Inside the NBA” as a Warriors’ correspondent after signing a contract with TNT this year — was on the panel after the game and responded on behalf of his team’s fans.
“The area hates you,” Green fired back.
— Alex 👋 #ThankYouDeebo (@dbs408) May 21, 2022
After being named to the NBA’s Second Team All-Defense team, Green was mic’d up and chatting with the “Inside” crew during his warm-up prior to Game 2 and stuck up for Warriors fans again.
“Chuck, you’re not going to keep going at our fans,” Green said.
“I’m going to keep going at these fans, I promise you that,” Barkley said. “They’re going to get all the smoke they want.”
“They got more rings than you, Chuck,” Green responded.
“I know they do, but they have to go back to their life,” Barkley said. “I get to go home and be Charles Barkley. I’m going to feel pretty good about my life.”
Charles Barkley and Draymond Green going at each other is peak comedy. 😂
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Green has kept up his duties as a representative of the Warriors’ fan voice. He’s also taken his own jabs. During the off day between Game 1 and 2, Green slashed back at Barkley’s WCF prediction with an expansive rant about why Barkley wasn’t qualified to determine what makes a championship team.
Green insinuated that Barkley — who didn’t win a championship during his 15-year NBA career — doesn’t want Green to rub a fourth championship ring in his face. It could be a reality for Green, who is expected to eventually join Barkley on the “Inside the NBA” panel.
“If I win another championship, that’s one more ring added to the panel that’s not him,” Green said on the off day between Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference finals. “I wouldn’t want to see that either, then you really have to hear about it. I get it. I understand. I don’t know how that feels, I always won. I guess I’d feel the same way.”
Green kept going.
“You guys keep adding rings and I have to sit here and, when the playoffs come around, what are you going to say?” Green said. “You’re going to tell us how to win? Not taking that advice from Chuck. What’s he going to say? Tell him I’m going to get your mama if you keep talking junk to me because y’all won. Alright, go ahead Chuck. That’s my dog though, I love Chuck.”
Barkley’s beef with Warriors fans began 15 years ago, when the “Inside” panelist continuously doubted the eight-seed Warriors during the “We Believe” run in which they beat the top-seeded Mavericks in the 2007 playoffs. He pushed back at fans ‘anger about his comments.