Thursday's CNN American Morning featured a contradiction-filled interview with NBA Hall of Famer (and CNN employee) Charles Barkley. (partial video after the jump)
CNN American Morning co-host TJ Holmes seemed to be joking when mentioning that he was nervous about welcoming the always unfiltered Charles Barkley into studio. Apparently TJ knows that Sir Charles is quite fond of speaking his mind on myriad topics. Since today's visit was no exception.
Barkley was appearing on CNN to push education for young children, especially black children. There was no specific program attached to his visit. No federally funded program to help keep kids in school, no CNN prime time special designed to teach kids the importance of a good education. Just Charles Barkley rambling. His message to young people:
"I want them to stop looking at black jocks and entertainers as the only way to be successful."
Charles went on to explain to us that we do have black doctors, black lawyers, teachers, firemen and policemen. He supported this breaking news with another great revelation;
"There are only five real jobs in the world, teacher, fireman, policeman, doctor and someone working in the service. Everybody else should just chill out and enjoy life."
What? Huh? Didn't we sort of learn that from the Huxtables back in the 80s? I guess everyone else who works to make things, build things, sell things is not really working and should just chill out and enjoy life.
We did learn that Charles Barkley has decided against running for Governor of Alabama. This decision had nothing to do with his chances of winning, but more to do with Barkley's perception of the state of politics;
"It's so corrupt now. That's no fun, and nobody wants to go to work every day and argue."
Besides, we all know that a career in politics is not one of the five real jobs in the world. In fact, Sir Charles has further defined Politics for us;
"Politics are rich people screwing poor people."
And when it comes to politicians other than Barack Obama, the choices for President are very few:
"Sarah Palin has IT, but she's not going to win." The Good Old Boy network is not going to let a woman be the front runner of their party."
We also learned that;
"Twitter is for idiots."
I guess Charles did not know about Twitter being used to get much of the information out of Iran during the anti-government riots following the rigged elections of 2009. Were those people idiots? This brilliant statement was instantly tweeted by TJ's co-host Kirin Chetry, going viral within minutes.
While talking about the possibility of his daughter graduating from college in the very near future, Barkley did seem to get very emotional mentioning that this would be the first Barkley to earn a college degree;
"To graduate from college is a great personal accomplishment."
However, when pressed by TJ Holmes about his own lack of a college diploma and the possibility of returning to school to finish his studies that earn a degree, Barkley responded;
"I got too much money now. If you can get 20 points and 10 rebounds (his personal NBA career average stats) you don't have to worry about education."
So in less than eight minutes we have come full circle. From telling kids to stop idolizing black athletes and entertainers and to get an education and earn a college degree to letting them know that if they can just be like Charles, that education is not needed.
He was right years ago when he told us "I am not a role model."