Charles Barkley is what happens when you combine the charmingly irreverent sensibilities of Howard Stern with the brilliantly simplistic genius of Chris Rock. With his refreshingly honest and relatable personality, the athlete-turned-analyst has become one of the sports world's most adored broadcasters.
In honor of Sir Charles' fabled career, I mined the basketball player/philosopher/life coach's most profound observations with the aim of becoming a more evolved human being. But my findings are so remarkable that it would be a crime against humanity not to share them with the world.
Behold the inescapable wisdom of Charles Barkley.
On Skip Bayless: “If I could get Skip Bayless in a room, you’d need DNA to find out who it was when I got through with him.”
To put it lightly, Charles Barkley and Skip Bayless hate one another with the detestable scorn of a thousand Taylor Swift breakup ballads. These guys are a few hair plug transplants and a co-headlining tour away from being Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth.
During an airing of Inside the NBA, Barkley’s disdain toward ESPN’s resident troll is on full display. If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of accidentally stumbling across First Take, you probably empathize with Chuck’s sentiment.
On Skip Bayless (again): “Skip Bayless has passed Peter Vecsey as the biggest jackass in journalism.”
LOL. This Barkley guy is relentless.
Even though it would be the competitive equivalent of Michael Cera wrestling a Kodiak bear, I’d shell out $149 for a pay-per-view boxing match between Charles “The Round Mound of Rebound” Barkley and Skip “I Forgot My Inhaler at Home” Bayless.
On the 2012 Olympic team: “Other than Kobe, LeBron and Kevin Durant, I don't think anybody else on that team makes our team."
By “our team,” Barkley is referring to the ’92 United States men’s Olympic basketball team, which outscored opponents by an average of 43.75 points per game en route to a gold medal.
Chuck’s comments were in response to Kobe Bryant’s insinuation that his 2012 team would beat the 1992 team in a head-to-head matchup. SMH. Barkley had no choice but to retaliate.
On Abraham Lincoln: “If it wasn’t for him, we’d be calling Ernie boss.”
Barkley explains why Honest Abe is his all-time favorite President of the United States, eliciting nervous laughter from co-host Ernie Johnson.
On Bulls general manager Jerry Krause: “Jerry Krause must have pictures of his boss’s wife having sex with a monkey.”
Krause presided over one of the most prolific dynasties in NBA history, butdespite his expansive jewelry collection—is about as popular among Chicago sports fans as Steve Bartman.
Barkley apparently subscribes to the widely perpetuated idea that Krause’s success has more to do with inheriting a perfect situation than being an adept front office executive.
On Cam Newton's recruiting scandal: “Everybody wanna give us a hard time about giving Cam Newton $200,000. That’s called a good damn investment.”
It’s hard to argue with the economics of Barkley’s conclusion, but there are probably a few wealthy boosters in Alabama who wish he’d do his finance-based sermonizing off-camera.
On the state of the NBA: “As a NBA fan, I want to apologize to the fans, I cannot believe how bad the NBA is right now, I'm a fan first and foremost; watching the NBA right now, I'm embarrassed about the product we're putting out there right now.”
Why do we love Charles Barkley? He’s refreshingly honest and bold enough to speak his mind, even if it means disparaging an entity that made him a millionaire.
On his image: “I'm not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids.”
"I am not a role model, but buy product from my signature sneaker line."
His inherently contradictory platform aside, Barkley makes a good point about emulating people simply because they're superior athletes.
The world does not need a volatile bunch of Pop Warner football players posting stacks of their allowance money to Instagram and dating Kardashians.
On the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Contest: “Maybe no one will win.”
Gone are the days of Dominique Wilkins vs. Michael Jordan.
Now, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest is a hackneyed competition between Sixth Man of the Year aspirants.
As someone who's forced to sit through the timeworn event, Sir Charles feels the despair.
On Michael Jordan as an NBA executive: “Even though he is one of my great friends, I can't get on here and tell you he's done a great job. He has not done a great job, plain and simple.”
Chuck doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is, even if it means burying one of his closest friends.
On playing Angola in the ’92 Olympics: “I don’t know anything about Angola, but I know Angola’s in trouble.”
The ’92 United States men’s Olympic basketball team had a roster of 12 players, and 11 of them are currently in the Hall of Fame (poor Christian Laettner keeps getting jobbed by the voting committee).
The team’s first Olympic game was against Angola, an African country that Barkley admittedly knew only one thing about: They were in trouble. The Dream Team later defeated Angola by 68 points, eerily foreshadowing Chuck’s eventual career as a basketball analyst.
On his own college recruitment: "When I was recruited at Auburn, they took me to a strip joint. When I saw those [breasts] on Buffy, I knew that Auburn met my academic requirements."
We're all guilty of overcomplicating things, and choosing a college can be one of those especially arduous experiences.
But, if we've learned anything from Chuck, it's that life can be infinitely less vexing if you're willing to look at its conflicts in a barefaced and honest way.