Rick Barry surprised nobody with his analysis of the criticism of the Trump Administration. He showed his general view on dissent five years ago at the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony.
You remember that bright spot in Warrior history. New owner Joe Lacob, who was already paying for the sins of his predecessor Chris (The Hologram) Cohan and had traded the popular Monta Ellis to turn his backcourt (and his fabulous future) over to the upstart W.S. Curry, was uproariously booed as he stood on a stage at center court in Oakland.
That’s when Barry grabbed the microphone and lectured the rabble.
“C’mon people, show a little bit of class,” he said. “This is a man, that I’ve spent some time talking to, he is going to change this franchise. This is crazy. seriously. C’mon. You’re doing yourself a disservice. All the wonderful accolades being said to you, for you to treat this man, who is spending his money to do that best that he can to turn this franchise around, and I know he’s going to do it. So give him the respect he deserves.”
It is important here to keep his comments within the timeline, as neither he nor anyone else knew what would become of the Warriors three years hence. But it is also to be noted that he dismissed long-suffering customers who had endured decades of rancid basketball since he retired in 1980. They were more than entitled to vent their collective spleen.
But Barry is a man who, rightly and wrongly, believes in the divine right of authority to be treated as authority, which is why what he told USA Today sounds so much like what he told the Coliseum Arena audience that night.
“It’s a disgrace to the world, to our country, what they’re doing,” he said. “The scrutiny that he’s going under is absurd. It’s ridiculous. Politics has always been horrible and it’s even worse now than it was. What’s going on now is reprehensible.”
We now follow with the requisite caveats. He is entitled to his view, as are we all. He is also entitled to express it, as are we all. But his world view is not the issue here as much as his intolerance of people who loudly object to the powers that be by loudly objecting on the behalf of the powerful. It is very much a case of “I’m talking now to tell you to stop talking,” and less explicable, it says that in his world view, respect should automatically be granted to the powerful rather than earned. And when it comes to being a president, or even an NBA owner, it has to be re-earned constantly.
Lacob has managed to do so, a remarkable effort by any metric. Trump is well on his way to failing completely, but that remains an open debate.
Either way, Rick Barry is as Rick Barry has been, and as we suspect he will always be – deferential to the powerful, dismissive of most of everyone else. It’s not a course for the timid, and certainly not for those who wish to, well, be respected.