Every time an NBA fan turns around, it seems as though former NBA great-turned TNT analyst Charles Barkley is getting himself in trouble some way or another. The former Philadelphia 76er, Phoenix Sun and Houston Rocket all-star has been a magnet for controversy and "What the F***?!" moments since he entered the league, and the "Round Mound of Sound" has only gotten louder and wilder after his transition from the bench to the booth.
Most recently, Sir Charles found himself at the center of a storm regarding comments he made about LeBron James and his move to the Miami Heat.
"I thought that his little one hour special was a punk move," Barkley said last week, "I thought them dancing around on the stage was a punk move, and I thought he should stay in Cleveland."
When he found out about James' tweet regarding remembering who was doubting him, Barkley's critique only got worse.
"I want him to make sure that he puts my name on that list,” Barkley said, "He knows where I’ll be. I don’t run. I’m on TV every week, I’m easy to find.”
In honor of Sir Charles, I've assembled his top 10 craziest quotes regarding everything from current players, to his gambling problem, to his DUI.
Sir Charles has had his sights set on Bryant and the Lakers ever since the Shaq trade.
He criticized him for shooting to much in the 2006 playoffs, then for not shooting enough in the same season, which led to Bryant and Barkley having a heated discussion of the Round Mound's opinions of the Black Mamba on TNT's pregame show.
He criticized the Lakers' shooting guard for not trying hard enough in 2007, in the hopes of forcing a trade.
Most recently, Barkley has claimed that Kobe might be losing a step.
"Those days (of Bryant averaging 30 points per game) are over," Barkley said "We can see that Kevin Garnett is slowing down, we can see Shaq is slowing down, and Duncan is slowing down. I don't see why we can't see that he's going to slow down. He's the most explosive player out of those guys, and we can see he's going to slow down."
Never mind that Kobe just won his second title in a row; while this quote is bold, it isn't quite as crazy as some of the others on our list. Charles backs up his statements with logic here, but as we slide up the list, that might not be the case.
Barkley and Bavetta have a long, checkered history, but things took a turn towards the absurd once Charles was in the booth.
"Dick Bavetta and Moses parted the Red Sea together." Barkley said, in one of his frequent criticisms of Bavetta's advanced age. "I know I'm a fat, old has-been, but there's no way an old man of 67 can outrun me. It's impossible!"
This choice is less about the quotes themselves as the way in which they were resolved. The duo squared off in a footrace at the 2007 All-Star Game, and sure enough, the Round Mound of Sound backed up his mouth, beating the elderly official despite running backwards and falling at the finish. It was all good fun, though, as the pair shared a loving embrace and kiss after the race.
"Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a couple weeks. I thought he was going to pull a spear on me."
This incredibly classy and culturally sensitive remark was made by Barkley after the Dream Team had beaten up on the small African nation's team in the Olympics. Sir Charles had managed to start a fight near the end of the game, throwing an elbow into one of the Angolan players. The scary part is, this isn't the wildest thing Barkley's said about race or other countries.
For whatever reason, the Blazers of the early 2000's were one of Charles' favorite topics.
In 2000, during the height of the JailBlazers era, Barkley made waves when he commented on pictures of Portland players serving Thanksgiving dinner to needy families.
"In between arrests," Barkley said, "They do community service."
Then, in 2003, Barkley was broadcasting a Blazers game, and attempted to comment on the team's inconsistent play. The result was...well, this.
"You never know what team is gonna show up on a given night, but you can bet they will be high."
Needless to say, Barkley didn't think too highly of their chances that season.
In 2006, Charles Barkley admitted to having a gambling problem, in one of the few serious moments of his broadcasting career.
However, even that moment was tinged with Barkley's usual wit.
"Do I have a gambling problem?" Barkley was quoted as saying, "Yeah, I do have a gambling problem but I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."
Well, when you put it like that, Chuck, it makes it sound so darn nice, we'll let it slide.
One of Sir Charles' favorite topics is politics. He can't stop himself from saying something about the topic when asked. And that something is almost always hilarious.
"Well, when I went off to college, the guys I used to hang with were pumping gas and voting Democrat." Barkley once said, "Today they're still pumping gas and voting Democrat. Guess the Democrats didn't do much for them."
On Bill Clinton: "Man, everything gets blamed on the Clintons, every single thing in this world. I think Bill Clinton shot JFK, too."
Truly insightful commentary from one of the greatest political minds of his generation.
During a game Barkley was commentating, Kevin Garnett fired a basketball into the stands in frustration. The ball hit a man sitting in the crowd, who eventually had to be carted off on a stretcher, with his daughter crying in her seat. Charles, apparently thought the man should have walked it off.
He noted that players get hit in the face all the time, before dropping one of the all time best broadcasting quotes.
"You know why that little girl's crying? It's because she's thinking 'my daddy's a wussy'".
Frankly, he was right.
Far be it for most of us to attempt to broach the complex subject of race relations in America in a national sports magazine; just the thought of doing so would send most of us running in the opposite direction. But Charles did just that in a 2002 Sports Illustrated piece, which provided us with the following gem.
"Any time something bad happens to a black person because of racism, I feel it in my soul," Barkley said, "I really do. You take the Abner Louima case. That let me know one thing: If some white guys wanted to stick a plunger up a black guy's butt, and I'm the black guy who happened to be around, I'd have a plunger up my butt."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
<a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pppg9Cu2cs>This Clip</a> shows everything you need to know about this quote. The best part is Reggie Miller's reaction to it. I've never seen a television personality more scared on air in my life.
Typically, DUI arrests are pretty straightforward affairs. The person is caught drinking and driving, is arrested and charged, and we move on. But Barkley's 2009 DUI arrest, was, predictably, rife with juicy quotes.
According to the police officer, "He told me that he ran the stop sign because he was in a hurry to pick up the girl I saw get in the passenger seat."
But that's not all the Round Mound of Sound said! According to the officer, "He asked me to admit that she was 'hot.' He asked me, 'You want the truth?' When I told him I did he said, 'I was gonna drive around the corner and get a b**w job. He then explained that she had given him a 'b**w job' one week earlier and said it was the best one he had ever had in his life."
As if that wasn't enough, Barkley continued at the station, offering to tattoo the officer's name on his ass if he got him out of the violation. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the boldest statement of Barkley's colorful career.