This week,’s Richard Deitsch published a Q&A with NBA Hall of Famer, Inside the NBA analyst and unabashed loudmouth Charles Barkley, and it was full of provocative opinions about a range of subjects.

– LeBron James is only the eighth best player ever
– LeBron can NEVER, NO MATTER WHAT, break into the top five
– A jump-shooting team cannot win the NBA title
– “That analytics shit” doesn’t work
– The 76ers’ future is looking bright, in part because of Jerryd Bayless and Gerald Henderson
– Durant going to Golden State was disappointing and will diminish any title he wins
– “Super teams” undermine the integrity of the NBA
– The Knicks might be good
– Despite having voted Democrat all his life, he might stay home this election because, “There is something about [Hillary] that rubs the wrong way.”

You don’t have to disagree with all of those opinions to acknowledge that Sir Charles has a tendency to say things that don’t seem fully thought through. Like that the NBA is the worst it’s ever been. Or that “analytics is crap.” Or that black people as a race deserve blame for individuals being shot by the police.” Or that Kevin Durant is trying to “cheat” his way to a title. Or that the Atlanta Hawks should “take out” someone on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

None of those opinions would sound out of place coming from any of the sports-talk hot-takers you might hear on daytime TV or on the radio on your ride home from work, the ones we tend to mock or disregard. Now obviously all of this is subjective, and there’s surely someone reading this who concurs with Chuck on everything mentioned above, but frankly I don’t know anyone who’d agree with even half that stuff.

So I feel fairly safe in declaring with full confidence: Charles Barkley has bad opinions. Turrible opinions, you could say.

And you know what? I still kind of love him.

Charles is one of the funniest guys on TV and also one of the most charismatic. His jokes always land, his malapropisms are endearing and he knows how to laugh at himself. He doesn’t take basketball or television too seriously. Most of the time he’s irreverent without being offensive. He’s a joy to watch, even when what he’s saying falls somewhere between outrageous and nonsensical.

Charles Barkley is that guy we all know who kind of sucks as a person but is so charming and charismatic that you gravitate toward him anyway. And there’s a lesson in that, in television and in life. Most of us don’t really know how to judge character, we only know how to judge how people make us feel. What you say doesn’t really matter as much as how you say it.


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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