Former Sixer and current NBA broadcaster Charles Barkley appeared on the Dan Patrick Radio Show Tuesday morning and. of course, the subject of Jason Collins and gay athletes in professional locker rooms came up.
I guess a Game 1 loss by the Heat and a double-overtime thriller between the Spurs and Warriors didn't offer enough talking points. Then again, when you have Barkley on as a guest, you want to get his opinion on everything, because the man speaks his mind. No one can disagree with that.
Barkley, who played in the league from 1984-2001, told Patrick that "of course" there were gay players in the league at the time, and he probably had three or four gay teammates.
Everybody did. Everybody played with a gay teammate, Dan. And it’ s no big deal. First of all, I think it’s an insult to gay people to think that they’re trying to pick up on their teammates. But everybody has played with a gay teammate… It’s obviously discussed, privately, because the problem is, Dan, unless somebody tells you they’re gay, you can’t say a thing about them being gay. Ya know, until somebody has the courage, and I think it takes great courage to come out, it’s kind of an unspoken word to be honest with you.
Then Barkley explained just how likely NBA players are to have had a gay teammate, and probably didn't even know it:
I had several teammates, I probably had three guys I played with in my 16 years. But like I say, think about Jason Collins, 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.
Here's video of Barkley's interview with Patrick (skip to 10 minute mark for his comments on Collins):