If Sammy Sosa is persona non grata in Chicago for this, then perhaps the Windy City can adopt Charles Barkley as one of its own, at least for the duration of the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals.
Earlier in the series, Barkley referred to the Heat as a "whiny bunch." Predictably, this did not go over well with Miami fans, and they let Sir Charles know about it during Sunday night's game. Barkley responded in typical Barkley-ian fashion: by provoking the masses, this time by giving them the finger.
Now, according to a SunSentinel.com source, "TNT has decided to move the temporary stage inside for Tuesday night's Game 4 post-game show to avoid any escalated hostilities."
Barkley, appearing on WQAM Monday afternoon seemed unfazed by the attention.
"You know those people can yell and scream but they don't have the hair on their (butt) to grab me," he said. "They don't have enough hair on their (butts) to walk up to me man to man and say, 'Let's do this.' … All that yelling and screaming just makes me laugh, man. ...
"They were telling me I suck," Barkley continued.
Actually, it was a little more than that. In the YouTube below (NSFW warning -- there's some naughty language directed at Chuck), TNT co-host Kenny Smith glances over his shoulder at the torch-and-pitchfork crowd before promptly breaking out in dance. Turns out, that was the opening act. Barkley, keeping his back to his critics the entire time, eventually raises both arms, Rocky style, before giving them the finger. Heat fans goes crazy, and Barkley can be seen laughing.
"They were telling me I never won a championship," Barkley said. "Like, 'Come on, give me something better than that, dude.' … I always laugh at that statement, 'You didn't get a ring.' I'm like, 'Dude, you work at McDonald's.' My life's a lot better than yours. You relax.'"
In the world of mutually assured harassment there are no victims.
The Heat lead the series, 2-1 after Sunday's 95-86 victory.