“I don’t feel like talking to all these losers,” is a quote that best explains Charles Barkley‘s relationship to surly fans. The Turner broadcaster has always leveled his honest opinion about social trends, whether or not he’s informed enough to share them. That kind of candor doesn’t often find the proper context, but Barkley doesn’t care at all about that.
On Colin Cowherd’s radio show, in a mashup of strong takes, Barkley likely felt at home offering his view on interacting with fans, noting his struggles with some outliers during his playing career. He infamously threw a disrespectful heckler through a bar’s glass window, a story so memorable that it was once the most prevalent story the public knew about the Hall of Famer.
But it’s not as if Barkley doesn’t like the general public. In fact, the opposite is true. His down-home, blunt takes on basketball and the world usually appeal to Joe Sports Fan, and he’s aware of his base.
Ninety percent of fans are great. But it’s the ten percent that I’d like to take out back and just shoot ’em. They’re jealous and angry. And it sucks…I just think to myself, ‘Please come close enough to touch me.’ I know I’m fat. I know I didn’t win a championship, but my life is pretty good. And I’m saying to myself under my breath ‘Please touch me.’
Barkley is at his best when talking about the vulnerability of being famous. He swiftly comes to the defense of Johnny Manziel, who threw a water bottle at a fan who was harassing the QB on Saturday night. Barkley resists the trite narrative that an athlete must be at fault or out of control.
That’s honorable of the Round Mound of Rebound, but it’s also a reminder for fans to show some respect when they encounter a well-known professional athlete. And talking about Barkley’s lack of rings justifies the slant eye.