Charles Barkley is beloved for his brash opinions on Inside the NBA, but also for his languid approach to being presented as an expert analyst.
Despite his popularity and media prowess, Barkley isn’t the most astute or diligent basketball mind. And that was on full display during a hilarious story he told on the latest episode of The Steam Room podcast with co-host Ernie Johnson.
Recently, Barkley was driving around with the NFL on his mind. And as Deshaun Watson returned to the football field, the NBA analyst sought to check in with a friend who is a big Cleveland Browns fan, Steve Fiorello, the VP Coordinating Director for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.
“He picks up the phone and I said, ‘yo man, you gotta be going crazy about this game today because this is unprecedented stuff,’” Barkley recalled. “And he says, ‘yeah, it’s going to be interesting.’ I was like, ‘you’re not excited?’ He says, ‘I’m not that big of a Browns fan…I occasionally watch the Browns, but I’ve been busy with the Clippers and Cavs games.’”
“Oh sh*t, this is Fratello, not Fiorello,” Barkley remembered saying to himself after looking at his phone mid-conversation.
According to Barkley he was talking Mike Fratello for 15 minutes before he realized it was the former NBA coach and TNT analyst, not Steve Fiorello.
“I felt like such a dummy,” Barkley admitted.
Johnson asked if Barkley eventually told Fratello he called him by mistake after pestering the Cavs and Clippers analyst with questions about the Cleveland Browns.
“I did not tell Coach Fratello that I thought I was talking to Steve Fiorello,” Barkley said.
Too embarrassed to tell Fratello that he called him by mistake, Barkley decided to share the story on his podcast for the masses to hear it first instead.