Charles Barkley found himself in hot water when he said he was “uncomfortable” with Isaiah Thomas, who lost his 22-year-old sister, Chyna, in a car accident Saturday, crying on the sideline the next night before Game 1 of the Boston Celtics’ first-round NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls.
But Barkley is doubling down.
Barkley ripped into his critics on TNT’s “Inside The NBA” on Tuesday, saying he was uncomfortable with having to talk about tragedy and basketball at the same time and that Thomas himself didn’t have a problem with the comments.
“I want to address something that really bothered me,” Barkley said, per Yahoo! Sports. “I heard that all these nitwits, fools, idiots were complaining what I was saying about Isaiah Thomas the other night making me uncomfortable. No. 1, I don’t care what y’all think. I don’t care what your mom and daddy think either, just for the record. But to insinuate what I was trying to — what I was saying, I’m uncomfortable talking about his pain and then going to basketball.
“For all you nitwits, scumbags, idiots, punks, to try to make that a story because y’all don’t have ratings and use my name to draw ratings, don’t do that. You don’t have any talent, it’s the simple fact, you don’t have any talent. Let me be me.
“I’ve talked to Isaiah. He didn’t take any offense to that. What I was talking about, I wish him and his family nothing but the best. For you punks to try to make a big deal out of it, it just pisses me off.”
Nobody likes to have their words twisted, but in all fairness, Barkley’s original comments didn’t convey his second point, so it’s not surprising people were critical.
“I’m not sure what to say,” Barkley said before Game 1. “I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline crying like that. That makes me uncomfortable. So that tells me he’s not in shape to play. I mean, I don’t know how this night is going to turn out, but to be sitting on the sideline a few minutes before the game, crying, that just makes me uncomfortable for him.
“That’s just not a good look for him, in my personal opinion. I mean, he is clearly devastated, like we all would be if we lost a sibling, but sitting on the sideline right before the game, that makes me uncomfortable.”
The Basketball Hall of Famer isn’t known for being very eloquent, so he’s probably accustomed to correcting himself by now.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images