Charles Barkley was just inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; he will go down as one of the most beloved players in history (certainly in Phoenix). I love Charles Barkley — and I rarely say that about celebrities because I find them vain, superficial and erratic. Charles certainly has a talent for self- promotion, but he does it with a brutal honesty, and invites you to respond. I like the fact that he is not afraid of controversy and uses his power and adulation to tell us what he really thinks.

He can be a provocateur:

“I don’t care what people think. People are stupid..”
“I love New York City, I’ve got a gun”.
“If I weren’t earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball most people on the street would run the other direction if they saw me coming.”

He can be self-effacing:

“I am not a role model. Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
“See these are my new shoes. They’re good shoes, but they won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me.”

At his induction a week ago Friday, Charles used the platform once again as a channel for his honesty and humor. He said he lost 32 lbs. for the event, so that he wouldn’t have to waddle to the stage. He thanked everybody who helped him and then said he knew he was fat because, “If you get tired from walking, and that’s all that golf is, then you are officially fat.”

He closed, saying to his wife Maureen, “Thank you for putting up with me, including those times I was arrested.” To his friends and family, “Thank you for my life,” and told the rest of to love our kids so they could love others, “otherwise they turn into people who come to games and call you names.”

I think Charles is a real role model. I hope he runs for governor because I think he’d run the state just like he played basketball — hard and straight.