Charles Barkley has never been in an NBA 2K game, including this year’s NBA 2K21, and now we know why. In a video that has been circulating online, Barkley explains that he does not feature in the games because he’s disappointed at how little they pay some of the legacy players who feature–not because he needs the money himself, but because it could be a good revenue source for older players with less money.
The video seems to be from a recorded online fan Q&A that Barkley took part in, with the relevant question coming from a young boy named Nick, who has uploaded the video to his own YouTube. It’s pretty charming. This actually happened back in July, but went largely unnoticed until the YouTube recommendation algorithm started bringing it to people’s attention over the weekend.
Asked why he’s not in 2K, Barkley responds “That’s a great question. I’m asked that question a lot.”
Speaking about the benefits for current players in comparison to older, retired NBA stars, Barkley explained his disappointment at how 2K compensates them: “they pay the guys chump change.” He’s referring to the generations that came before him, who were paid far less and are much less likely to be be wealthy now.
“Just giving me some money doesn’t help anybody,” Barkley says, acknowledging that he’s already well-off. But he says that 2K calls him every year, and that he says he’ll do the game if they ever agree to pay the older, retired players featured in the game $1 million per year.
“I’m not talking about old retired players like me…there’s players older than me who didn’t make any money,” Barkley says.
Barkley has previously spoken out against 2K for their policies. In 2016, he said the following: “I’m not trying to be a pig or greedy. They should donate the money to the retired players. If they would give a million dollars a year to retired players union, they can use my likeness.”
Barkley is no stranger to the world of video games. Barkley: Shut Up And Jam started a brief series of street basketball games on the SNES and Genesis, before Barkley, Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden took the series in a very different direction over a decade later.
The NBA 2K games, meanwhile, make a huge amount of money.
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