"I been saying whatever the hell I want for thirty years and I’m doing great."
The world of professional sports in the United States has seemed to have no choice but to start leaning into politics as of late. Not for the sake of politicization, but in a concerted effort among athletes to be a voice for their communities, spanning from the NFL protests of the "Star-Spangled Banner" to the Golden State Warriors accompanying a group of students to an African-American History museum instead of meeting with President Trump at the White House. So, it was only fitting that one of the most outspoken athletes of our time deliver on a poignant monologue when NBA retiree and analyst Charles Barkley hosted “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.
Taking to the “SNL” screen as a host for the fourth time in his career, Chuck’s opening statement was mainly centered around the one-sided dispute between Lebron James and FOX News anchor Laura Ingraham who told the three-time NBA champion to “shut up and dribble” after he spoke out against Donald Trump.
“I’m an athlete, and athletes have been speaking out a lot this year,” Barkley began. “They’ve been kneeling during the anthem refusing to go to the White House, but a lot of professional athletes are worried that peaking out might hurt their career. Well, here’s something that contradicts all of that—me. I been saying whatever the hell I want for thirty years and I’m doing great.”
Barkley went on to reference the likes of Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown to bring home the case that athletes have long been pillars in their communities, alluding to the social responsibility they hold in speaking up when faced with injustice, and just as Lebron James didn’t bother to learn Ingraham’s name after her remarks, Chuck wasn’t too concerned with it either when he addressed the situation directly, encouraging Lebron to continue doing what he always has, naturally sprinkling some humor in to get the point across.
“Some people don’t want to hear from professional athletes like this lady on FOX News who told Lebron James to shut up and dribble. Dribbling is like Lebron’s fourth thing that he’s good at—shooting, passing, and magically making his hairline come back […] Lebron, keep on dribbling and don’t ever shut up and maybe one day you can host SNL for the fourth time just like me.”
Watch the full video below.