Over the past several weeks during his on-air basketball commentary on TNT, Charles Barkley has slighted San Antonio’s women (“They ain’t got no skinny women down there”), the river (“a dirty little creek”), and even the Alamo (“the place where everyone got killed”).
In town for the Western Conference Finals, Barkley accepted an invitation from San Antonio Express-News columnist Roy Bragg to tour the city’s major tourist sites.
His visit Monday came four days after San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, tired of the abuse, took to YouTube to fire back at the former NBA great. “We have four NBA championship rings and on our way to a fifth,” Castro said, flashing a hand heavy with the Spurs’ four NBA Championship rings. (Sir Charles, an NBA Hall of Famer, never won an NBA Championship during his sixteen-year professional basketball career.)
Barkley and Castro met on Monday, and Barkley said he enjoyed the video. “It was funny. I never met a mayor with a sense of humor,” Barkley said, according to Bragg.
The NBA great explained to Bragg that his jabs were meant in jest: “I’m just trying to make it fun,” he said. “They’re all just jokes. As long as people are enjoying themselves and watching basketball, that’s all that matters.”
During his day out on the town, Barkley toured the Alamo, ate lunch on La Gloria, and took a cruise down the “dirty little creek” with Bragg. Along the way he mugged for pictures with fans, who didn’t seem so angry about his remarks.
“All along the river, passers-by shouted his name. He responded to every single shout-out with a ‘Have a great day’ or ‘Have a blessed day,'” Bragg wrote.