Charles Barkley continues to rave about Bill Russell giving him the finger
Charles Barkley took no offense over basketball icon Bill Russell flipping him the bird during Monday’s 2018 NBA Awards ceremonies. In fact, Sir Charles found it to be “awesome.”
Eyebrows were raised when Barkley, while presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar Robertson, pointed out all the luminaries and legends from the NBA’s past in attendance among the crowd. When he came to Russell, the legend reacted with a middle-finger salute.
Russell took to Twitter after the incident later Monday night to apologize, writing in a tweet that featured a pic of him flipping the bird, “Sorry everyone, I forgot it was live TV & I can’t help myself whenever I see Charles it just is pure instinct.”
Barkley continued to weigh in on Russell’s remarkable off-the-cuff act during an appearance on Jim Rome’s podcast. Sir Charles went so far as to say the vulgar gesture was a great tribute, in a manner of speaking.
Charles Barkley on Bill Russell's middle finger, a letter he wrote to Bill Laimbeer, and the grind of hosting Saturday Night Live.
Listen: https://t.co/ORGkoHSds9 pic.twitter.com/n5kZCgUtqJ
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) June 26, 2018
“I thought it was one of the coolest things ever to happen to me, because Bill’s a mentor, he’s like a father to me and he does that to everybody,” Barkley said. “It meant a lot to me, because if you know Bill, well, I don’t even call him Bill, Mr. Russell, he is one of the best people ever.
“And I was laughing so hard I almost couldn’t keep reading, cause I was just naming all the people at his table, before I got to give a award to Mr. (Oscar) Robertson, but I almost fell outta, I almost feel I was laughing so hard inside, because I didn’t want to stop, and interrupt Mr. Robertson getting his lifetime achievement award, but I thought it was pretty funny, no, I thought it was really funny and I thought it was hilarious.”
Apparently, flipping the bird is the highest form of flattery … at least as it pertains to Barkley’s open deference to Mr. Russell.