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Charles Barkley: The 5 Minute Interview

Charles Barkley was nice enough to indulge the outsideLeft in a quickie interview last week. He may not be all that important to you, but can still pull more tail than Sinatra in his prime.

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by Rene Williams, for outsideleft.com
originally published: October, 2005
Millionaires dressed up like drug dealers, street thugs and rappers.
by Rene Williams, for outsideleft.com
originally published: October, 2005
Millionaires dressed up like drug dealers, street thugs and rappers.

Hello Charles. I know your time is limited so I'm hoping we can just get into it.


Yeah, of course.


OK. The new NBA dress code that got laid down this week. What do you think of it?


I think it's great. I completely support it.




Oh yeah, for several reasons. First off, you got young impressionable kids in the arenas and watching on TV - some maybe without father figures from single-parent homes - - looking at everything going on. These kids look up to the ballplayers - especially the high-profile guys and what are [the kids] seeing? Millionaires dressed up like drug dealers, street thugs and rappers. Naturally these kids are going to emulate the ball players - it's been that way for decades but the NBA's lack of dress code isn't helping with anything. It's not going to stop the problem of that certain group of kids dressing the way they do, but it's a start - the NBA is placing its foot in the right direction.


So you don't consider it an infringement of rights?


Not at all - the NBA is a multi-million dollar business. There's millions of people all over this country that have to play by dress codes at their job. Like it or not, that's how it is - you don't like it, start up your own corporation and let your employees dress however they want. You think the people at IBM let their people dress however they want? No, because when your one of the biggest moneymaking organizations in the country like the NBA is, you have a certain level of decorum to maintain. The players are the ones who are in front of the camera and the fans - it makes sense for them to look professional - they're representing the franchises that employ them.


Do you think it's aimed squarely at black ball players?

Hell yeah it is. But is it racist? No. [NBA commissioner] David Stern has an obligation to the team owners, sponsors, ticket holders and television networks. There's big money involved with this league. If things get sloppy, who do you think they're going to turn to to fix the problems? Now unfortunately, it's the young black ball players that are screwing it up for everyone else. You're not gonna see a white guy on the bench in a track suit with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold ropes and diamonds around his neck - it's gonna be a black guy. That's not being racist, that's just a fact.


Do you think the NBA would benefit from turning into an international league?


It's already an international league. Take a look at the teams - there's guys from China, Italy, Scandinavia - all over the place. Now if you mean international in that teams from the US would be flying over to Europe for away games and that kind of stuff, then no - that wouldn't work. The body would take too much of a beating flying back and forth - the jet lag would kill players. Then you'd see a dip in player stats and game scores. Traveling back and forth the US is bad enough, imagine tripling that kind of travel time.


Who'd you used to hate playing against?


Oh man. Hmm. Well of course Jordan was hell to play against. [Dennis] Rodman was tough to go up against too - we were always fighting for the same rebound. Magic was difficult in his day too.


How do you think Kobe and Phil Jackson do this year?


They'll do OK because they have to do OK - they both have a lot on the line now. It's gonna be rough though - especially for Kobe - he got a pretty bad rap. I'm not saying what he did was right, but I think the press, especially sports talk radio really treated him bad. Now how will the Lakers do? They'll probably make the first round of the playoffs, but that's as far as they're gonna go for a few years. Phil's gonna get them back on top, but it's gonna be like a three or four year plan.

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