Charles Barkley is the NBA's version of E.F. Hutton, when he talks, people listen. In an interview with Playboy that will be released on Friday, Barkley goes off on Stephon Marbury, the Republican party and Barry Bonds. Here are a few highlights.
On players in the NBA making so much money: "You've got guys who are always hawking to be traded, guys who say they're going to do things their way no matter what. It's unfortunate because it hurts the game. They've got what we call ****-you money. Stephon Marbury makes $20 million a year. There's nothing they can do to him, so he'll always do things his way."
On the presidential election: "There's no way in good conscience you can be a Republican right now. After what Bush and his cronies have done to America, there's no way you can honestly feel good about being a Republican. I mean that sincerely. Let's get something straight: The Democrats aren't much better. But I don't know how you can honestly say in good conscience that you are a Republican today in this country and not cringe."
On his presidential pick: "I'm voting for Barack Obama. The reason I'm voting for him is he's a friend of mine. But I have to look at the big picture. We are so lost and confused in the black community right now. All our kids want to be rappers or entertainers. We need to let them know they can be intelligent and articulate. It's a bigger picture than him running for president, to be honest with you."
On immigration: "First of all, illegal immigrants do the work blacks and whites don't want to do. O'Reilly and Dobbs incite fear. On CNN, Dobbs is going in that direction because CNN is getting its butt kicked by Fox. He does a show every single night on illegal immigration. Seriously, if they want to stop illegal immigration it's very simple: All they have to do is penalize the rich people who hire illegal immigrants. They're not working for other poor people; they're working for rich people."
On which co-host he would rather save in a sinking boat-Kenny Smith or Ernie Johnson: "That's the stupidest question I've ever been asked. Kenny's obviously got no chance. Not only that, we'd probably take some of his body parts in case we couldn't get food -- we could eat him a couple of days later. Wait, it depends on the destination. If the boat is going to Miami to hang out, I might take Kenny. Ernie just wants to go to Dairy Queen all the damn time."
On If Barry Bonds should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame: "Of course he should. That's a no-brainer. And if the Baseball Hall of Fame accepts that baseball with an asterisk drawn on it, all the players should boycott the Hall of Fame."
On why he would never bring in Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to help with her campaign if he decides to run for governor of Alabama: "No. I don't believe in them. They always play the race card, and you can't always play the race card. Sometimes the race card is needed but not in every situation. We have to hold blacks more accountable for their actions."