NBA legend Charles Barkley, who starred most notably for the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, is obviously known for his basketball and sports media careers. He has been successful in both arenas and has ultimately become one of the most popular sports celebrities in America. However, anyone who has followed Barkley closely also knows of his love for gambling. In fact, a former U.S. president recently roasted Barkley on national television about it. That former president was Barack Obama.
NBA and Suns legend Charles Barkley enjoys gambling
In the past, Charles Barkley, who won an MVP and played in the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns, admitted that gambling was a problem for him.
In 2002, Barkley said to Sports Illustrated that “gambling is my vice, and I’ll have to address it sometime in the future. But not now.” Additionally, in 2006, Barkley admitted to ESPN that he had probably lost $10 million from gambling, and said, “It is a problem for me.” He also said, “My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun.”
Barkley added: “Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem but I don’t consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble. It’s just a stupid habit that I’ve got to get under control, because it’s just not a good thing to be broke after all of these years.”
It appears, though, that Charles Barkley has gotten his gambling under control since then. His net worth is even estimated to be at $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. It, however, doesn’t look like he has just quit it altogether.
In 2020, Barkley admitted that he lost $100,000 when betting on the Falcons to win Super Bowl 51 in 2017. He then said ahead of 2021 March Madness that he had already made 15 bets on “dinner and a couple bottles of wine” for either Gonzaga and Baylor to win it all over anyone else in the field, per NBA on TNT‘s Twitter.
While it doesn’t appear to be a problem for him anymore, former U.S. President Barack Obama still knows of Barkley’s love for betting.
Barack Obama roasted Charles Barkley on national television
The Roll Up Your Sleeves TV special, which NBC aired on April 18, featured several celebrities who encouraged Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. During that special, Barack Obama had a conversation with Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.
He ultimately had some jokes for Barkley, too.
Obama essentially opened up by asking Charles if his golf game had improved during COVID-19. Then, after the former president asked Shaq about his business endeavors, O’Neal said, “I don’t have as much money as the great Charles Barkley, but I’m good,” per ATTN’s Twitter.
This led to Obama roasting Barkley’s love for gambling.
“That’s because you don’t go to Vegas as often as he does,” Obama said to O’Neal.
Shaq then asked Barkley how it feels “that the president knows that you’re an avid gambler in Vegas?” In which Barkley replied, “It’s all over TV. I can’t hide it.”
It was all some light-hearted fun, as Obama eventually said, “Chuck is Chuck, and that’s what we love about him.”
Overall, the segment with those three ultimately had a good mix of humor and serious discussion around the COVID-19 vaccine. Most of the humor, though, was, of course, at Barkley’s expense.
The three stars encouraged Americans to get the vaccine
During the segment with Obama, Barkley, and O’Neal, the former U.S. president laid out some facts regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Now, as the vaccine becomes more available, I want to make sure that our communities, particularly ones, African American, Latino, as well as young people, understand that this will save lives and allow people to get their lives back to normal,” Obama said.
Shaq and Charles also contributed.
“I am vaccinated,” O’Neal said. “My family has underlying conditions, they’re also vaccinated, but I’m not worried about me and my family. I’m worried about the average mom and dad.”
So, yes, while Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal had some fun with the former U.S. president, it appears that they all did something important, too.
“Mr. President, I get my second vaccine shot tomorrow. I cannot wait. I think it’s important for us to keep talking about the vaccine,” Barkley said.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline at 1-800-522-4700.