Dime Q&A: Charles Barkley On Jordan, LeBron, Shaq & Gambling

By: 06.10.11  •  6 Comments
Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

Dime: What do you think about Mark Jackson as the Warriors’ new coach?
CB: Mark is a really good friend of mine. I think it’s great for Mark that Jerry West probably had to sign off on the deal. I think that first of all that’s the first smart thing they did out there in years, getting Jerry West on board. I got great admiration and respect for Jerry West. He’s the best. And it’s about time they got some legitimate people out there with that bonehead organization they have had. The key for Mark is gonna be to get good players and good assistant coaches. He wanted to coach and I was really pulling for him, but this game ain’t about X’s and O’s, it’s about jams and Joes. I mean, he got to get some good players. Currently the Warriors don’t have a very good team, but I’m really gonna be rooting for the Golden State Warriors ’cause Mark Jackson is a really good friend of mine. But if I’m a Golden State Warriors’ fan, I’ve got to be encouraged that Jerry West didn’t have any objections to Mark Jackson being the coach.

Dime: Is Inside The NBA on TNT as fun for you as it seems?
CB: Well, the thing we try to do is…we are just talking about basketball…we’re not saving the world. I think that is our number one job, to make sure that the fans have a good time. I truly believe that. I really think about that, the day of the show. You know, I wanna make sure the players are clearly having a good time, they’re all making five, 10, 15, 20 million dollars a year. But I want the fans to enjoy the game. So I honestly just try to make it as fun as possible, to be honest with you. First of all, I can’t believe these suckers are paying me to watch basketball. I’d watch the games anyway. I love basketball. Basketball has given me everything that I have.

Only thing I do at my house on Saturday and Sunday is sit in my movie theater and call my bookie. ‘Cause football, that’s all it’s good for…to bet on. But they pay me to watch basketball, I love sports, and I can’t believe they pay me to watch basketball and that’s the truth, to be honest with you.

Dime: Why are the Miami Heat fans getting so upset with you?
CB: ‘Cause I didn’t pick their team to win! It’s interesting how these fans think that if you don’t pick their team to win, you don’t like their team. First of all, I’ve said it a thousand times, I don’t care who wins. I don’t pull, really, I don’t. I just try to do my job. I don’t ever care who wins. Like I said, this series I’m a little torn ’cause I root for Dirk and Jason and LeBron ’cause they’re on the list with me right now – and it sucks to be on that list. But it is what it is. I say I pick the Mavs to win the series, and the people in Miami took it personally. But that happens every year in the Conference Finals, when you go on the road and you pick the other team, so that’s a thing you can’t go crazy about.

Dime: What do you think would be the ramifications if there were a lockout?
CB: It would be devastating for football and basketball, to be on strike because we are in the middle of a recession. And the truth of the matter is that you got billionaires and millionaires fighting with each other…and I understand there are a lot of complex issues. My only hope is that David Stern, who I think is the best commissioner in all of sports…I trust him. Everybody knows we’re in a recession. The economic climate, you got the tornados in Alabama, you got the tornados in Missouri, you got the floods in Memphis…there are so many people struggling. But, uh…hey man, it’s a tough call. I hope it don’t strike but, man, it’s just tough right now.

Dime: What do you remember about labor issues when you were a player and what do you think will happen this time around?
CB: Well, the last time we had one, I was there. I personally think in football and basketball, the owners are going for it this time. I think they’re going for it. The players, we’ve been kicking their butts for a long time, to be honest with you…in the last couple of collective bargaining agreements. But, just from what I’m reading, and how much they want back, it looks like they’re gonna go for it this year. And I’m worried about football, and I’m definitely worried about basketball. But I do think the owners are going for the jugular this time.

Dime: So do you expect an NBA lockout?
CB: I do. I do think there’s gonna be a lockout and I really think that’s sad because our ratings have been the best they’ve been in probably forever. And it’s been a great year for the NBA.

Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

Around The Web