Charles Barkley has the coolest job in the world. Every Thursday, the Naismith Hall of Famer appears on telvision via Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.
A sixteen year vet and eleven time NBA All Star with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets, Barkley won a league MVP award and made on NBA Finals appearance in 1993. Even during his playing career, his personality screamed: “I’m made for TV.”
The coolest part? He’s simply being himself.
“He’s unbiased and truly stands behind his comments no matter how popular or unpopular they may be,” retired NBA player Maurice Taylor once told me.
“He keeps it real,” NBA legend, Tim Thomas told me.
“If you wanna know the truth, ask Chuck because he’ll keep it all the way 100. I used to live in the same housing complex as him in the Philly area and he always made himself available to me and other young guys who sought out his advice.”
“Charles has created a persona where he has positioned himself as outside the mainstream, where he is seen as a rebel who says what he wants, who challenges the status quo, yet when you look beyond the surface, he really is in line with mainstream values,” Dr. David J. Leonard, a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman told me.
“He often laments ‘today’s players,’ he waxes nostalgically about his era and he condemns the destructiveness ‘political correctness.’ In part because he has long been positioned as anti-Michael Jordan and in part because of his ‘I am not a role model’ commercials, but he has successfully constructed himself as oppositional and a man who marches to his own drum with respect to race, social issue and cultural debates.”
An NBA Champ as a member of the Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce-led Boston Celtics, Perkins, 35 is telling it like it is on television post playing career and he’s taking notes on players who have took the lead before him including Barkley.
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I asked Perkins if he yet sees any similarities between he and Barkley. “Well I mean, we both are honest,” he told me while on the podcast.
“I’m trying to get better. Charles Barkley is an Emmy Award winner. That’s where we differ at and he’s a legend in this game especially as an analyst. He doesn’t shy away, he speaks his mind, he has great charisma, people love hearing him talk and he doesn’t try to be somebody he’s not. Like, I’m not up late at night looking in the encyclopedia or looking in the dictionary trying to come up with big words. No, I’m who I am. I go on TV and I speak and I’m authentic and that’s who I am. Period point blank. We’re fighting the same war my brother. And guess what?…I come from the mud just like everyone else my brother and like I said before, it’s not what we do, it’s how we do it. We gotta make sure we cross out T’s and dot out I’s especially as powerful African-American men that have platforms to actually speak out and lead. We gotta lead amd we gotta do it the right way. You see what I’m sayin’? That’s the only way we’re gonna get change: Lead the right way. But we gotta come together and we ALL have to be on the same page because anytime the world or whoever sees that we’re going in a different direction, they’re like, ‘Yup we got ‘em just where we want ‘em…’ and we can’t have that.”