It’s Sedimentary, Charles Barkley!

NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley makes a great living these days by injecting some much needed honesty and, at times, comedy into Turner Network Television’s “Inside the NBA” studio show.

This week, we moved deeper into the first round of the NBA playoffs.  That means that one team will win a series and move on.  For the losing team, though, the basketball season comes to an end.

That also means it’s time to go on vacation.

Every season, TNT’s Charles Barkley along with former NBA players Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith and studio ringmaster Ernie Johnson seem to devise a clever way to say goodbye to the exiting playoff basketball teams.  The banter usually involves a few jokes about the losing team making plans to go fishing or heading out to a beach location such as Cancun, Mexico.

If an NBA team fails to put up much of a fight in their opening post-season playoff series, it can look as if the losing team might have been ready to quit early to leave for their vacation.

1,2,3, Cancun! 

In 1998, former NBA star Nick Van Exel was playing for a Los Angeles Lakers team which was on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs.

In a practice session prior to the team’s final loss in the series, Van Exel (the team prankster) didn’t break huddle with the usual chant of “1, 2, 3, Lakers!”  He jokingly shouted, “1,2, 3, Cancun!”

Management wasn’t pleased.  After the Lakers lost the series and ended their season, Nick Van Exel was traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Upon hearing that story, the TNT basketball analysts have since adopted the battle cry of “1,2,3, Cancun!” when poking fun at an overmatched team being blown out of an NBA playoff series.

“It just popped in my head,” said Nick Van Exel many years later.  “It wasn’t like it was scripted.  I probably should have trademarked that thing!”

A little traveling music for the New Orleans Pelicans, please!

The New Orleans Pelicans (a #8 seed) were swept 4 games to zero during their opening round series against Western Conference top seed Oklahoma City.  The Pelicans failed to score more than 92 points in any of the four games in this short NBA playoff series.

It was U-G-L-Y, and there wasn’t any alibi.

After the third game in this lopsided series, Charles Barkley declared that the New Orleans Pelicans were already toast.  It looked as if the Pelicans had given up hope after losing so badly at home.

According to Barkley, the New Orleans Pelicans were not worthy of going to a top-notch vacation destination like Cancun.  On the set of TNT’s post-game show a few days ago, Shaquille O’Neal tossed a comedy softball to Charles Barkley.

“I’m disappointed in New Orleans. Where are they going, Chuck?” asked co-host Shaquille O’Neal.

The former Houston Rockets forward launched into a rather funny tirade which put a negative spotlight onto an unsuspecting Texas island community located just southeast of Houston.

“They didn’t even try, man,” Barkley said of the Pelicans. “We’re not even going to send them to Cancun.  We’re going to send them to Galveston, where that dirty water be washing up on the shore and you people think you’re at the beach.”

It was made funnier as Barkley repeated the “dirty water” phrase a few more times prior to ending his rant about the Pelicans.

Charles Barkley’s remarks drew hearty laughter from fellow TNT studio analysts Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith (who earned two NBA Championship rings in the 1990’s as a member of the Houston Rockets).

The dirty little secret is that Galveston’s beach water is, indeed, a bit dirty!

If you have ever been to Galveston beach, you know that Charles Barkley is speaking the truth.

The water definitely has more of a brown tint than other Gulf of Mexico beaches located to the east from Gulf Shores, Alabama and into western Florida.  That is primarily due to the high amount of sediment being deposited by several rivers in the region which empty into the Gulf of Mexico.

Beginning in Louisiana, the mighty Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, and Sabine Rivers all terminate into the Gulf of Mexico.  In southeast Texas, the Trinity, Brazos and Colorado Rivers add even more daily sediment into the Gulf waters.

In Galveston, many tourists don’t mind taking a dip into the brownish water along the beach on the southeast Texas coast.  Some of us prefer a pleasant stroll along the Galveston seawall while we watch the waves wash ashore.

For many east Texas residents, Galveston is the closest traditional beach community available.  To find the clear white sand and cleaner-looking water, locals must drive or fly to over 500 miles to Gulf Shores, Alabama and other cities in the Florida panhandle.

Galveston checks enough boxes for many Texas residents to make for a fun vacation – with or without taking a dip intp the relatively dirty beach water.

Galveston, oh Galveston!

Incorporated in 1839, this relatively quiet city along the Gulf of Mexico is one of the oldest communities in Texas.  In addition to being the subject of Glen Campbell’s 1969 hit song, Galveston is also known for being the landing spot for a massive hurricane in September, 1900.  That storm killed nearly 8,000 Galveston residents and prompted the city to construct a massive 17-foot seawall along the ocean to help protect the city from tidal surge.

Today, Galveston is home to nearly 60,000 residents.  The city attracts tourists year-round to visit its many historic homes and buildings, some of the terrific seafood restaurants, and, yes, 32 miles of sandy beaches and sea water with a brown tint.

The city is rather proud of its history and its generally positive tourist business.

Watch out, Charles Barkley!  You aren’t getting away with trash talking Galveston!

Some folks in Galveston have returned fire at the 61-year-old Barkley – who knows about Galveston after playing in Houston during the late 1990’s at the end of his 16-year NBA career.

“Mr. Barkley used the phrase ‘dirty water washed up on the beach,'” said Galveston City Council member David Collins on Monday.  “If anyone understands being washed up, it would be Mr. Barkley.”

Zing!  David Collins just slam-dunked on The Chuckster.

The Galveston Park Board issued a statement of its own this week.

“Galveston is much more than a beach town,” the park board said. “Galveston is a family-friendly and cost-friendly destination, and we think the Pelicans would find well-deserved R&R here in the offseason.”

Here’s a better idea for the New Orleans Pelicans.  Stay in Louisiana! 

Why should the New Orleans Pelicans want to leave the state of Louisiana?  The Pelican state (get it?) has a few of its own beaches with water just as dirty (if not dirtier) than the Gulf of Mexico is around Galveston, Texas.

Check out these Louisiana gems.

1.  Holly Beach (aka “The Cajun Riviera”)

This small community in Cameron Parish is located on the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas border.  One of my former employers had a major offshore natural gas pipeline which came onshore near Holly Beach.   That means that there are plenty of offshore platforms in this region.

Due to the frequency of hurricanes which have passed through this Louisiana coastal town, I am not aware of any permanent vacation structures (cabins, hotels or restaurants) located on Holly Beach.  However, the tan sand and “dirty” water make it a suitable playground for the New Orleans Pelicans after the team went a disappointing 0-4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

2.  Grand Isle

Yet another quiet Gulf of Mexico beach location in Louisiana lies southwest of New Orleans at the terminus of Louisiana State Highway 1.  Grand Isle (also famous for hurricane landings) still has some cabins available for New Orleans Pelicans players.

There is great fresh seafood nearby and, of course, miles of beaches with sediment-filled sea water.

3.  Venice

About 50 miles south of the Crescent City, Venice has frequently seen hurricane landings along the southeastern Louisiana coastline.  Though Venice has miles of dirty water like Galveston, the town lacks a significant beachfront area.

However, the deep sea fishing based in this Gulf Coast community would make for an attractive vacation option for a New Orleans Pelicans basketball team trying to get away from the media and unhappy season ticket holders.

Don’t take Charles Barkley’s advice, New Orleans Pelicans.  There is no need to take your money to Galveston, Texas after the early end to your season.

1-2-3, Holly Beach!