During Charles Barkley’s professional career, did he ever play with gay players? Of course he did! If you think otherwise, you might a little naive.
Jason Collins’ coming-out party was lauded in the media last week, and for no small reason: He is the first active NBA player in history to come out of the closet as a gay man. But for Charles Barkley and many other NBAers, the revelation that there are homosexuals in the sport of basketball is a little old hat.
Though it was hush-hush back in the day, Barkley was on teams with gay players throughout his career.
On Dan Patrick’s radio show Tuesday, the former basketball great and current analyst seemed nonchalant about Jason Collins’ revelation, saying:
“Of course I did. Everybody did. Everybody played with a gay teammate, Dan. And it’ s no big deal.”
Barkley noted that he had shared several private discussions with gay players about their sexuality during his career.
“I had several [gay] teammates, I probably had three guys I played with in my 16 years,” he said.
“Think about Jason Collins,” Barkley added. “He played on six teams, so six teams played with a gay guy. And so, everybody has played with a gay guy, you just didn’t know he was a gay guy. ‘Cause until a gay guy comes out, it’s none of your business.”
Kurt Helin of NBC Sportsremarked that Barkley “sounds like the majority of NBA players I have heard from on this issue, they just want to know if he can play.”
Collins is a 12-year NBA vet, set to be a free agent this summer. He became the first active male athlete in a pro team sport to publicly admit that he is gay. The article announcing his sexuality was published last week in Sports Illustrated.
Are you surprised that Charles Barkley played with gay players?
[Image via: Bruce Yeung, Shutterstock]