‘Round Mound’ sounds like a clown

By Howard Robertson and Larry Robinson | 12/19/2014, midnight
Charles Barkley needs to stay in his lane and shut his mouth.
Larry Robinson and Howard Robertson

by Howard Robertson and Larry Robinson

There is arguably nobody in NBA history, with the possible exception of Muggsy Bogues, who did more with their physical stature and played basketball bigger than Charles Barkley. Though officially listed while playing at 6’6’’ and 252 pounds, knowledgeable sources reveal that Sir Charles was shorter (6’4” to 6’5” max) and heavier (270 pounds plus), which earned him the memorable moniker of “The Round Mound of Rebound”.

Charles Barkley is an 11x NBA All-Star and NBA Hall of Famer who has become a highly acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning broadcaster. We admire and appreciate Charles’ past work on the basketball court and his current work behind the mic as it regards basketball. Beyond that however, he needs to stay and shut. That is, stay in his lane and shut his mouth.

In media training, we advise clients to say what they’re prepared to say and then shut up. Put a period on it, zip it, shut your trap and just stop talking. Just because the microphone is still on doesn’t mean you should continue because that’s when you get into trouble.

Charles got too full of himself, his “bully pulpit” and said things like, “The only people who distrust cops are crooks. Cops are not out there just harassing innocent people. Maybe sometimes they do. But there’s no inherent situation where the cops are just deliberately out there harassing people.”

Regarding the death of Eric Garner he said, “I don’t think it was a homicide. I think the cops were trying to arrest him and it got a little aggressive.”


By the way, Charles is also on record in solid support of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case.

Does Charles Barkley have a right to his own opinion? Of course. Is he obligated to share the same views as a majority of African Americans across this country? Absolutely not. African Americans are not just one monolithic blob of the same thoughts, experiences and actions.

But consider that Charles Barkley is who, what and where he is because he is a big, tall, wide black man with basketball experiences, not the life experiences of other big, tall, wide black men in urban America. So when it comes time to speak about a general black experience or reality for black men in America, it is at that monumental moment that Charles Barkley should recuse himself and shut the hell up.

Consider Charles’ background. He was born in Leeds, Ala., with a population of nearly 12,000 of which the black population was about 15 percent (1800 people tops). Charles’ family, most particularly his grandmother, was already well known in the small town. Then he and his brother became high school sports stars and took their celebrity to a whole new level. Everybody knew them. Everybody knew him at Auburn too and soon he was drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers.

It’s not a major conclusion jump to suspect that Sir Charles had few (if any) police-driven engagements where he was not recognized as Charles Barkley the basketball player and treated with the respect his basketball celebrity afforded him…especially back in Alabama. So who is he to pontificate on a cops’ frame of mind or the experience any brother (especially one his size) may have with the police?

Barkley’s “ace boon coon” Kenny Smith even had to check him in an open. You see, Kenny grew up as a much heralded basketball player too. But Kenny grew up in Jamaica Queens, N.Y. Any encounter as a young man that Kenny may have had with New York’s finest was likely as just another brother. Kenny can relate.

There’s a reality for African American men that Charles Barkley needs to realize and maybe someday acknowledge. For far too many white men, the fear of black men is still very real, very pervasive and very dangerous. In corporate environments it can get you canned or constricted. On the streets it can get you killed.

So Charles, we ain’t mad at you and look forward to future basketball insight and observations. Beyond that, remember if you didn’t walk it, don’t talk it.

(“A Little R&R on Sports” (randronsports.com) is a nationally syndicated radio show available on hundreds of radio stations and digital platforms. In Memphis, tune to AM 990 KWAM, 10 a.m. on Saturdays, stream R&R live Saturdays 10 a.m. CDT on sportsbyline.com or get our podcasts by downloading or mobile app from the website above.)