Charles Barkley is an icon and legend in the NBA, best known for being an 11-time NBA All-Star and a career with Philadelphia 76ers (1984-1992), Phoenix Suns (1992-1996), and Houston Rockets (1996-2000). He is now a prominent NBA analyst on TNT’s Inside The NBA.
Despite all that, he has never been in an NBA 2K game, including this year’s NBA 2K21. In a video published back in July 2020 (but only went viral recently when shared on the NBA subreddit), a fan asked Barkley why that is the case (around the 1:48 minute mark).
He then explains that he does not appear in the NBA 2K games because he is actually disappointed at how little the company pays the legacy and classic players who do appear in the game.
He believes that more money should be given as a source of revenue for these retired players, especially those who are not major superstars with million-dollar endorsements deals (like Michael Jordan) and jobs (like Barkley himself) after they retired.
“Give the old retired players one million dollars and I’ll be in the video game.
They piss me off every year, they call me every year and say ‘have you changed your mind?
Why in the world you think I’m gonna change my mind?
Give the retired players a million dollars a year.
I’m not talking about old retired players like me.
There’s this misconception that everybody’s been making a gazillion dollars our whole life.
There’s players older than me who didn’t make any money.
Those are the guys, they’re older and probably need the money, so that’s why I’m not in the video game.”
In 2016, Barkley has previously spoken out against 2K Games, where he said:
“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.”
However, Barkley has appeared in other non-2K games before, including 1993’s Barkley Shut Up and Jam! for the Sega Genesis and SNES.