The hosts of TNT’s basketball analysis show Inside The NBA strayed far from conversation about sports on Tuesday night’s broadcast. In a segment between the two major playoff games last night, former All-Star MVP Charles Barkley mocked overweight women at length, joking that the city of San Antonio was a “gold mine for weight watchers.”
Barkley was prompted by co-host Kenny Smith, another retired NBA player, who asked, “what kind of women are in San Antonio?”
“Big old women down there,” Barkley replied to extensive laughter from his fellow hosts on Tuesday, who aside from Smith include Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson. “That’s a gold mine for Weight Watchers.” (Barkley himself is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.) He later added, “Victoria’s definitely a secret. They can’t wear no Victoria’s Secret down there,” and “they wear big old bloomers down there, ain’t nothing skimpy down in San Antonio.”
Barkley went on and on as his co-hosts egged him on, asking, “they have spandex down there in San Antonio?” and “it’s a gold mine — it’s a gold mine.”
Barkley has made similar comments before. In 2013, he told the same group, “I think if I opened up a food truck just for the San Antonio week I could make a gold mine in a week. Them big ole women down there.”
It’s disappointing that, just weeks after the NBA was in uproar over the racist and womanizing ways of disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling, no one on the broadcast seemed interested in cutting off an offensive conversation. While their discussion is obviously not on the same level — and indeed will be interpreted by many as all in good fun — it does show a general lack of sensitivity on an issue that could be easily avoided. And it comes from some of the most outspoken critics of Sterling during last month’s debacle.
Only at one point did Johnson feebly try to change the subject, asking, “Why does every conversation about San Antonio eventually come around to women?” He also eventually led the conversation away from women and toward mocking San Antonio’s famed river walk.
Barkley’s comments drew scorn from at least a few NBA fans, including another sports reporter, host of ESPN’s SportsNation and San Antonio-area native Michelle Beadle, who tweeted this picture of the woman Donald Sterling was talking to in the tapes of his racist comments: