Charles Barkley on Saturday night highlighted the value of getting a free education as student-athletes in college basketball launched their fight in hopes of compensating from their names, images and likenesses (NIL).
Barkley disagreed with people who say that getting free education was nothing.
“Education, to me, that’s my biggest gripe. When these people on television talk about who should get paid or not … I get sick and tired of people telling these young kids getting a free education is nothing,” he said during the NCAA Men’s Tournament broadcast on TBS.
“That’s total BS in my opinion. The NCAA got some issues and they’re not perfect, but to tell kids especially young Black kids that getting a free education is nothing is ridiculous and stupid.”
Barkley has been a proponent of highlighting the importance of the free education part for young student-athletes.
He made the same point in an interview with Graham Bensinger in April 2016.
“I do this little science experiment when I speak at schools. Let’s say I’m at a white school. I ask how many kids want to play pro sports. Less than 10 percent raised their hand. They say they want to be doctors, lawyers, engineers. But when I speak at predominantly black schools 90 percent of kids want to play sports,” he said in that interview.
“There are a couple that say they want to be doctors which makes me really proud. Our kids are brainwashed if they think they can only play sports or be entertainers. You gotta a better chance to be a doctor or a lawyer than playing in the NBA. There are 400 players in the NBA. What are the chances you are going to be one of the 400 players in the world? I’m not trying to bash their dreams, I wish everybody can do it, but you also have to be realistic. You are not going to play in the NBA; who are we kidding.”
College basketball stars launched their campaign to get compensated for their names, images and likenesses this week and tweeted their demands.
Michigan’s Isaiah Livers wore a T-shirt supporting the fight before the Wolverines’ game.