Charles Barkley lights into Cavaliers players for 'trying to get John Beilein fired'
John Beilein’s short time in the NBA didn’t quite go as he planned. The longtime college basketball coach struggled to make the transition into the professional ranks, had a hard time dealing with so many losses and had difficulty relating to the players.
Beilein just wasn’t a great fit for the NBA. And during the All-Star Break, Beilein decided to end his run as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through his first season.
But Beilein wasn’t the only one to blame for the troubled transition. Player inside the Cleveland locker room deserve their fair share of blame for making life difficult for the first-time NBA coach.
According to reports, players were upset with the amount of film they were watching, as well Beilein wanting players to practice on Christmas, despite not having a game that day. Beilein was also criticized for saying his team was playing like “a bunch of thugs.” The head coach later apologized, saying he meant to say “slugs,” implying that players were playing slow and not hard enough.
Following Beilein’s decision to step down from his job, former NBA star and current analyst Charles Barkley jumped to the head coach’s defense. He slammed players on the Cavaliers’ roster for their actions, calling it “disgusting.”
“I want to call out the Cleveland Cavaliers. I thought what they did to Coach Beilein was ridiculous, unprofessional,” Barkley said on TNT. “I think the veterans on that team were not leaders. I think the young guys who can’t play think they’re better than they are and they tried to get that man fired.
“I’m so disgusted by those players trying to get that man fired. John Beilein is a hell of a coach and I think he’s a good guy. But for those players to complain about, ‘We’re practicing too hard. We’re watching too much film’ — because they stink. Because they stink I just didn’t think that was fair.
“When a coach is wrong, I’m going to call him out. But when players are wrong, I’m going to call them out and I’m disgusted by what the Cavaliers did to Coach Beilein.”
Beilein left Michigan after 12 seasons in Ann Arbor to take an opportunity in the NBA. Now that he’s out of the professional ranks, there’s some curiosity if he’ll be willing to be a head coach in college again.