Controversy is Power



Throughout his illustrious playing career, Charles Barkley accomplished almost everything imaginable in the NBA. As the bearer of 11 All-Star selections, the 1993 Most Valuable Player award and a spot on Team USA’s Dream Team in the ’92 Olympics, Barkley knows a thing or two about making an impact wherever he goes. After his playing days were through, Charles joined TNT as a studio analyst on their marquee program, Inside the NBA. Fourteen years later, he has developed into the most polarizing figure in sports broadcasting.

As an analyst, Barkley is known for his blunt, brutally honest commentary. No matter what position you play within sports media, there will always be detractors trying to drag you down simply because they don’t like you; Sir Charles is no different. As Nate Scott writes in his For the Win blog, Barkley has had his basketball knowledge questioned despite his wondrous accolades. As absurd as this may seem, the folks at the Awful Announcing blog are probably Barkley’s largest critics. Here, they piece together several moments in which Charles “makes fun” of San Antonio women.

Apart from shedding light on unbeknownst figures, Barkley has also ruffled many a feather in the broadcasting community. Three years ago, his network (Turner Sports) partnered with CBS to collectively cover the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Barkley says the cross-over did not go well initially. Earlier this year, Barkley went on the Dan Patrick Show to profess the fact that he would never work for ESPN. This kind of outspokenness is incredibly rare in broadcasting, and it is easy to see how people working within in could become perturbed by it.

For as many times as Barkley has annoyed or aggravated others, his voice has also rung resoundingly true in the midst of several high-profile cultural dilemmas in American sports. For instance, Andrew Woolfolk delves into Barkley’s view on the Manti Te’o “fake girlfriend” case of 2013. Barkley’s opinion that athletes should not be considered role models is prevalent across America. Charles also was the driving force behind one of the most powerful television clips of the year in the wake of the Donald Sterling fiasco. He managed to capture the boiling emotions of a nation and in that context, present a call to action.

By now, you can clearly see the breadth of Charles Barkley’s personality when it comes to being a broadcaster. As viewers, we don’t care necessarily care if we agree or disagree with what he has to say; we just care that he has something to say. We should all take the time to get to know a little more about the man, as Larry Smith of CBS 46 in Atlanta does in this interview. Likewise, famous sports media expert Richard Deitsch also presents Barkley in never-before-seen light. After watching these clips and learning about the methods behind Barkley’s madness, we should all take a moment and appreciate the fact that love him or hate him, there will never be another broadcaster like him.

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