TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley has long been known for his strong opinions on people in sports, and he let some of those fly Sunday night after the Houston Rockets’ Game 4 loss to the Golden State Warriors, blasting CEO Tad Brown (“Toad Smith”) and GM Daryl Morey (“Daryl Moronic”) for their tweets as well as owner Leslie Alexander. Barkley walked that back on Tuesday’s Inside The NBA, though, apologizing to all three figures. Here’s video:
And a transcription:
“I want to apologize to the Houston Rockets. I overreacted to two tweets. Daryl Morey sent a tweet during the regular season and I said something I shouldn’t say. So I want to apologize to Daryl Morey. And I want to apologize to Tad Brown, the CEO, for overreacting. I want to apologize to Les Alexander.”
“We should never…you know, I don’t do any social media, so when you show stuff or I hear about it, I get mad. So I want to apologize to those three guys and the entire Houston Rockets organization because when you’re on television, Ernie, it should never be personal. We’re supposed to do our jobs. When Daryl Morey sent a tweet during the season, I got mad. I was 100 percent wrong. When Tad Brown tweeted last week, I was 100 percent wrong. And Les Alexander treated me great when I was in Houston. So I just want to apologize to those three guys.”
After that clip cuts off, though, Barkley made it clear he doesn’t regret his criticisms of the Rockets’ team. Kenny Smith (another former Rocket) said he agreed with many of Barkley’s criticisms of the team, and Barkley responded “I didn’t apologize to the team.”
It’s interesting to see Barkley actually walk something back. As he told Graham Bensinger in an interview teaser clip uploaded Wednesday, the perception that he can say whatever he wants only exists because he’s very selective in what he actually does say and because he’s not dependent on the money from his TV work:
“I pick my battles very carefully,” Barkley said. “Everything’s not worth arguing over. But if something serious comes out, I’m not afraid. And I do think I have a little leeway because I have basketball money. A lot of guys can’t be honest and straightforward on television because this is their job. People don’t want to hear the truth.”
So, this was the rare case where Barkley may not have chosen his battles perfectly. He handled the apology well, though, and it was smart of him to stick by his criticisms of the team even after apologizing for personal attacks on their executives. That further enhances Barkley’s “tell it like it is” persona, and that’s one that’s worked very well for him to date.