It was only a matter of time before the whole NFL investigation with the New Orleans Saints “bounty” sweepstakes carried over to the NBA, and leave it to Charles Barkley to speak out on the pay-for-pain program.
During a recent radio interview with Dan Patrick, Barkley admitted he once put a $5,000 bounty on a player from another team in the middle of a game back during his days playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.
“One time…I can’t tell you that…I can’t incriminate myself…We were getting beat by 30 points, back in my Philadelphia days,” Barkley began in the interview.
“I’m a firm believer, if a guy shoots a three, you knock his ass as far in the stands as you possibly can. We were getting beat by 30 or 40, I can’t remember. This guy was shooting threes and running up and down the court. I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to hurt that guy right there.”
The “Chuckster” didn’t reveal the intended target or even if the dirty deed was carried out against that player, but the bottom line was these sort of in-team antics used to be common practice in the NBA too.
Barkley is the second former NBA player this week to confess about a bounty system in the league.
Former Boston Celtics small forward Cedric Maxwell said that during his days in the league, the Celtics had $10 incentive for stepping on an opponent’s chest after taking a charge.
Len Elmore, who played in the league for eight years with the Indiana Pacers, Kansas City Kings (now the Sacramento Kings), Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, and New York Knicks, before becoming a basketball analyst with ESPN, ABC and CBS.
“If you stepped on his chest, you got paid,” Maxwell said of Elmore.
“Every time he tried to take a charge and you stepped on him, you got paid,” Maxwell said. “What are they going to do, come back and fine me now?”
According to the NFL and their investigation on the Saints from 2009-2011, players were reportedly rewarded $1,500 for knocking a player out and $1,000 if the opponent was carted of the field on a stretcher.
That may be a far cry from Maxwell’s $10 chest stomp or Barkley’s $5000 pick off play, but regardless of the amount a “bounty” system is apparently just not strictly limited to the NFL. It’s only a matter of time before we hear more about these stories, particularly if the so-called “bad boys” of the NBA throughout the years start stepping forward and speaking up.
Your move Rasheed Wallace.