TNT’s Charles Barkley (above, right), as interviewed by the Oklahoman’s Barry Trammel.
Q : Are you surprised how much staying power this Oklahoma flap has received? Peter Vecsey writes about it in the New York Post, Letterman brings it up?
A: Vecsey is just a horrible person. So I don’t worry about him that much. Peter Vecsey is just a horrible person. I was a little disappointed that people tried to make it out to be like I didn’t like Oklahoma, just something I said. Let me tell you what really happened. I was really (hacked) at TNT. What happened was, Chris Paul didn’t know he didn’t make that all-star team. We were having a little one-minute conversation before we went on, and I was just joking around, and I said, “Man, I’m disappointed you didn’t make the all-star team.’ Then Kenny (Smith) says to me, “How do you know he didn’t make the all-star team?’ And I saw Chris Paul’s reaction, he didn’t know it, and Kenny didn’t know it. I had saw the list earlier that day. So I saw the expression on his face. I was surprised TNT had him on if he didn’t make the all-star team. So my first question was kind of in jest. Man, you got chickens and cows. I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. So my first question was, you’ve got cows and chickens in your backyard. And he laughed with it. I don’t remember, I know I didn’t say Oklahoma’s not a place for black people. I said I didn’t think there was any there. People try to say I said Oklahoma’s not a place for black people. Which I know I didn’t say. I still don’t think there’s a lot of black people in Oklahoma. I was a little surprised and disappointed that people tried to make it like it turned out. I was just having fun.
Sir Charles, along with Joe Dumars, Dominique Wilkins and Dick Vitale, is amongst the 16 finalists for the next batch of inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame.