Best Sports Entertainer - 2008
TNT's Charles Barkley
Chuck, run for governor of Arizona instead of Alabama. Please! We need you in this state, where all but a handful of Democrats are Democrats in name only. We know you used to be a Republican, but then you denounced that party for its B.S. You would inject some life into the political scene here, just as you have into the NBA sportscasting. Frankly, we don't know what we would do without you on TNT. Ernie Johnson and Kenny "The Jet" Smith would be nothing without you. Even Magic or Reggie can't match your spunk. You crack us up.
Sometimes we figure you're drunk or stoned when you pontificate perversely from the right-hand corner of the screen, but we love it. We loved it when you said that Nellie Ball, which Mike D'Antoni persisted in reinventing, has never worked and never will. You were talking about the proverbial Don Nelson, lately coach of the Golden State Warriors, who invented the small-ball, run-and-gun system that D'Antoni's Suns employed to not enough avail. Somebody needed to freakin' say it, especially when D'Antoni was so badly botching it after the arrival of Shaquille O'Neal. Entertaining honesty!
Sir Charles has got to be the most quotable SOB in sports:
• "I don't care what people think, people are stupid"
• "I love New York City; I've got a gun"
• "Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids"
• "My initial response was to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized that I had no character"
• "We don't need refs, but I guess white guys need something to do"
• "Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a while."
The former Round Mound of Rebound has been entertaining us in Phoenix for going on 20 years; his 1993 Suns team was the last to play in an NBA Finals. When he retired eight years ago as the fourth player in history to rack up 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists, we knew we hadn't seen the last of him. We in Phoenix knew more than anybody what a hoot he was; now he's the most entertaining guy on sports television.