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Charles Barkley Just Put Politicians From Both Sides on Blast Over the Racial Divide

Charles Barkley toyed with running for governor of Alabama for a while, but one of the best NBA players of his generation is hampered by a fatal flaw when it comes to politics: He speaks his mind.

With the nation struggling with some particularly divisive issues related to racial equality in the past year, Barkley went on the attack against elected officials from both ends of the political spectrum Saturday, accusing them of consciously dividing the country.

Did Charles Barkley ever run for governor?

TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley broke away from NCAA Tournament talk to criticize both major political parties over their handling or race relations in the United States. |Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match
TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley broke away from NCAA Tournament talk to criticize both major political parties over their handling or race relations in the United States. |Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match

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Charles Barkley starred on the basketball court for Auburn University and went on to a superb NBA career that led to induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Along the way, he became eminently quotable. Some of what he said skewed toward outlandish and inappropriate, but mostly the Round Mound of Rebound was simply amusing and entertaining. Above all, however, he said what was on his mind rather than what he thoughts people wanted to hear.

The combination of his career on the court and his high profile off it led to talk that Barkley would run for public office after retiring from basketball. Barkley himself announced in 2008 that he intended to run for governor of Alabama in 2014. He changed his mind two years later, but his political future remained a matter of speculation for years.

Finally, Barkley said unequivocally in May 2020 that he was no longer interested in being governor. It seems he had a moment of clarity regarding who he would have to work with if elected.

“The Democrats and Republicans are both full of crap,” Barkley said last spring, according to al.com. “You see now with this pandemic. They aren’t doing anything for these people.”

Is Charles Barkley a Democrat or a Republican?

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One of the most famous Charles Barkley quotes dates to the presidency of George W. Bush.

“My family got all over me because they said Bush is only for the rich people,” Barkley said. “Then I reminded them, ‘Hey, I’m rich.’”

Many observers took that to mean that Barkley was a longtime Republican, but he said last year that wasn’t the case at all.

“I’ve been a Democrat all my life,” Barkley said, according to Kentucky.com. “I just realized now they have done an awful job of taking care of poor people. They make the same boasts every four years, come to the Black community and (say) they’re going to make things better. But they don’t really make things better.

“I’m still a Democrat, but I don’t fall for stupidity.”

Sir Charles just put Democrats and Republicans on blast again

RELATED: Charles Barkley Says ‘It’s Exhausting Being Black’ in Powerful Message on CNN

No one expects Charles Barkley to stick to basketball in a basketball pregame show. He did not disappoint ahead of the Final Four doubleheader involving Baylor, Houston, Gonzaga, and UCLA.

Major League Baseball became the latest to intertwine sports and politics by moving its annual All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to newly passed voting reform legislation in Georgia. Barkley cut to what he believes is the heart of the matter.

“I truly believe in my heart most white people and Black people are awesome people,” Barkley said. “But we’re so stupid following our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, and their only job is, ‘Hey, let’s make these people not like each other. We don’t live in their neighborhoods, we all got money, let’s make the whites and blacks not like each other. Let’s make rich people and poor people not like each other. Let’s scramble the middle class.’ I truly believe that in my heart.”

Having a television platform doesn’t make Barkley right. But his is sincere. Rather than spewing talking points from either side of the political spectrum or offering milquetoast takes rooted in self-preservation rather than self-reflection, Barkley says what’s on his mind.

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