Charles Barkley is catching heat for on-air comments about grieving NBA star Isaiah Thomas — who just lost his sister in a tragic car wreck.
Barkley, a former league MVP and panelist on TNT’s “Inside The NBA” said he was “uncomfortable” with footage of Thomas crying on the sidelines before a playoff game on Sunday.
“I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline like that, that makes me uncomfortable,” Barkley told his panel, including co-host and former pro Kenny Smith.
“That tells me he’s not in shape to play. I don’t know how this night is going to turn out, but for him to be sitting on the sideline a few minutes before the game crying … that’s just not a good look in my personal opinion,” Barkley concluded.
- The sister of the Boston Celtics player, 22-year-old Chyna, died in a single-car wreck in Tacoma, Washington, early Saturday. Thomas decided to press on and play in Sunday’s game, his coach confirmed to media the following day.
“Charles Barkley has no heart. You should be fired, ” user @AGPXX wrote on Twitter. “A man lost his baby sister.”
“Thank you Charles Barkley for letting us know that it’s about YOUR selfish comfort regarding isiah Thomas playing, not his.” wrote @_bigchee.
What’s more — Barkley seemed to hurl a thinly-veiled homophobic insult at co-host Smith after a heated debate about the best NBA point guard in the league.
‘You need to rest your voice, man. Take the rest of the night off, get some tea, go on down to Bulldogs,” Barkley told Smith. Bulldogs, as one Twitter user pointed out, is a popular gay bar in Atlanta, Ga. — where “Inside the NBA” tapes.
A TNT spokesperson did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter.