Whether you love or hate Charles Barkley, odds are you have some sort of opinion on him, for Barkley is not the kind of person who engenders indifference. Yes, some media personalities are known for their catch phrases. Some are known for their cynicism. Some are known for their delivery.
But Barkley? Barkley is known for his honesty.
You may not agree with what he says, but he’s always going to tell you exactly what he thinks.
“I’m never going to change myself being honest,” the NBA Hall of Famer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “You know, it’s sad. It’s interesting (that) you asked me that question. We’re supposed to be honest. Nothing wrong with being honest. The problem is, people only want you to be honest when people agree with you. I hope people respect my opinion for being honest, and that’s all I’m going to do. But in fairness, I do have a built-in advantage: I got my NBA money, so I ain’t worried about getting fired.
“I play golf and I fish every day,” Barkley continued. “If they fire me, I’m just going to play golf and fish more. So that does give me an advantage, having my NBA money, but I’m going to always be honest. I think the fans deserve that.”
Not only from an entertainment standpoint, but also from an ethical one.
“Like I say, I don’t think people agree with me all the time,” Barkley acknowledged, “but I think we have a moral obligation when you’re on radio and TV. And you guys understand it because people believe what we say. There’s too many reporters that have a hidden agenda. They don’t like certain guys. They don’t like certain teams. And that bothers me. Because if you’re on television or radio, there’s somebody listening somewhere that’s never going to meet these guys. They’re going to judge them by what we say. So I believe we have a moral obligation to be honest and fair.”
While Barkley would prefer not to get fired, it’s safe to say his golf game could probably use a little work. He confirmed that he still has a hitch in his swing, but he isn’t too concerned about it.
“Golf and sex are the only two things you can be bad at and (still) have a good time (doing),” Barkley said. “Golf and sex. You can never have bad sex, and you can never have a bad round on the golf course. I’m going to have fun out there no matter what.”
Barkley is of course known for his NBA analysis, but he’s also a lead studio analyst during March Madness. The transition from the pros to college is difficult in some ways, easy in others.
“It’s difficult watching all the teams, trying to learn all the players,” Barkley said. “It’s fun once you get there. Because I’m watching abut three or four college basketball games a day right now, and it’s a pain in the ass, to be honest with you. There’s 68 teams in the tournament, but you have to watch about 80 teams. You’re really glad once the tournament starts. Then it’s easy. You just kind of look at the match-ups. And the one cool things about it, they do great research for us.
“Basketball is such a small community,” Barkley continued. “I can call a coach over here, over there, who played against that team at some point. You know how it is. You know somebody on some team. That’s the one thing about basketball: It’s such a small community. There’s a bunch of guys I played against (who are) coaching in college now.”
Barkley said the entire process is like “cramming for an exam,” but “it ain’t like college where somebody did your homework for you.” Barkley, an Auburn product, then added he was “just joking.”
Barkley was asked when he plans to step away from the booth and retire.
“I don’t see myself working past 60,” the 52-year-old Barkley said. “Come on, man. Anybody that works past 60 is an idiot. If you ain’t made enough money by the time you’re 60, there’s something wrong with you. Once you get past 50, basically you’re going to a point where you need prunes, Viagra and glasses. There’s a small little window (before that). So, I got to retire so I can travel – because you know nothing going to happen after that. So I’m going to work a couple more years, and I’m getting the hell out of here.”