During an argument about the postseason following Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the two went after each other. Shaq opened up by pulling rank and pointing out that Barkley had only been to the NBA Finals once. Sir Charles fired back that at least he hadn’t ridden Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant’s coattails. Things devolved from there.
Charles: If I had been riding on Kobe’s coattails and Dwyane Wade’s and Alonzo Mourning’s too, I forgot about him, and Rick Fox. Shaq: People question why you’re in the Hall of Fame anyway, bum. Ernie: Why did that get so personal when we’re talking about Game 5? Shaq: Because Chuck keeps interrupting me. Don’t interrupt me, Chuck, or I’m gonna punch you right in your face, I’m telling you. Charles: If you hit me, we’re gonna be moving some furniture. I’m gonna throw one of these chicken wings at your fat ass. Shaq: You gonna do what? (holds up chicken wing)
The Warriors have made that effort a component of their identity. Curry and Durant don’t crave the attention that Green enjoys, but they abide by the organization’s official policy that salesmanship is part of the job of professional athletes and the teams that employ them. Kerr encourages this engagement, both as a means of selling the Warriors and as a practical tool. “Steve to a certain degree was a product of the media,” says Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence and a descendent of the Spurs’ coaching tree. “I think that helped Steve understand different aspects of [the media’s] job and how he can use [them] to help us or to send a message or whatever. Pop may not feel the same way.”
“I always felt like Pop was kind of projecting Tim,” Kerr says. “Tim wasn’t a huge fan of the media. We’ve been more open. Draymond loves talking to the press; he’s really good with it. The guys who aren’t as comfortable, they’re kind of shielded by the guys who are because you can get a great quote from Draymond any day of the week. It works naturally based on personality.”