As everybody who follows the NBA knows at this point, Charles Barkley says some things at times that can be questionable. What many don't realize is that this isn't something new. Barkley has always been somebody who says whatever he wants, and when he was playing, it was much worse than the things he says now.
While some believe the things that Barkley says now certainly aren't right, if they heard what he said back then, they would have definitely hated the guy.
At one point, he put kick their a** on his sneakers when he was taking on the Chicago Bulls. He did this and wasn't even able to come away with a win as Michael Jordan dropped nearly 40 points in a 96-85 win. The Philadelphia 76ers weren't necessarily the best team back then, but Barkley was hopeful that they were going to be able to take down the Bulls.
Charles Barkley's Magic Johnson comments
Now, if this is all that Charles Barkley did, it certainly wouldn't be something that even really gets talked about much nowadays. However, if a player came out with that on his sneakers during the 2023 NBA, we would probably see fights going on and fines left and right.
During his last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, in 1991-1992, Barkley decided to wear No. 32 in honor of Magic Johnson.
Magic had just announced before the season that he was HIV positive, and the players wanted to give him their support.
There were also media members who didn't understand what HIV was at the time and were curious about what it was going to be like to play with Magic when he returned to the court. What Charles Barkley said next upset the country as he said something that many thought was a bit too sensitive at the time.
"We're just playing basketball," Barkley said. "It's not like we're going out to have unprotected sex with Magic."
Yes, that is a real quote from Barkley, and he likely meant every single word. The world was scared of HIV at the time and didn't necessarily realize how they could be affected by it. It once sent the world into a frenzy, but Barkley knew that in order to contract the disease, they would need to have some sort of sexual intercourse.
While that certainly wasn't the right thing to say from his standpoint, he did have some truth behind that comment.
It doesn't seem as if Barkley and Magic hate each other now. There hasn't necessarily been a time when the two of them were hanging out, but that doesn't mean they dislike each other because of those comments.