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Barkley: Knicks approaching Playboy Bunny status

Charles Barkley is never one to be short of an opinion. 

The New York Knicks are never short of opinions on their performance.

It was only natural that Chuck would proffer a critique of the Knicks and their surprisingly potent NBA season to date. Newsday quotes Barkley as such:

Everybody in New York thinks the Knicks are Playboy bunnies, and I have been telling them for years the Knicks are a rabbit," he said. "They're closer to a Playboy bunny this year but for the last few years these guys are like, 'We have a really good team!' And I say, 'You really think that?' And I say, 'No, they don't.' But this is the best team they've had in a while.

Of course, Barkley is right. The Knicks have been underwhelming for years, despite bloated expectations and high profile players. This season, with Carmelo Anthony surrounded by the unpredictable J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, and 38-40 year-olds Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, they have shocked their way to a 18-5 record entering Monday's game against the Rockets.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/ZimbioThat is right, the Knicks sit atop the Eastern Conference and trail only the Oklahoma City Thunder in the entire NBA, despite missing star power forward Amar'e Stoudemire. Some in fact claim that the return of Amar'e may only destroy the team's chemistry and defensive prowess.

Barkley has always been known for his opinions and honesty. Some love it, others are a little more sensitive. When asked about how the Knicks fans in Madison Square Garden will treat him, Barkley was unphased:

'I think they will treat me fine; I think fans appreciate you being honest,' he said. 'First of all, I've been right. I don't say things because I don't like the Knicks. But they stunk.'

Barkley insisted his motives are pure. 'For me, it's never personal,' he said. 'It's always about basketball. I'm never going to have a hidden agenda.'

The Miami Heat were not so welcoming of Barkley's critiques. LeBron James suggested that Barkley "shut up" after he predicted a physical decline in Dwyane Wade's athleticism. 

"Oh my God," Barkley said. "These guys are so sensitive."

Let's see if the Knicks can maintain their Playboy Bunny status the rest of the way through the season.

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