This past Saturday night, former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley took up hosting duties on the comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live. During his opening monologue, Barkley expressed his support for athletes’ social activism, specifically mentioning current NBA king LeBron James. James, who is also known for his activism, recently took a stand against Fox News host Laura Ingraham for her ignorant “shut up and dribble” comment.
Barkley, who has been outspoken about race relations, politics and a number of other societal issues throughout his career, used the SNL platform to encourage athletes to keep taking a stand, “Keep on dribbling and don’t ever shut up,” Barkley said, addressing James. “I’m an athlete, and athletes have been speaking out a lot this year,” he continued. “They’ve been kneeling during the anthem, refusing to go to the White House. A lot of times, athletes are worried that speaking out will hurt their career. Here’s something that contradicts all of that: Me. I’ve been saying whatever the hell I want for 30 years, and I’m doing great. … This country has a great tradition of athletes speaking their mind. Muhammad Ali changed the way people thought about Vietnam. Jim Brown had people thinking about race.”
This is Barkley’s fourth time hosting SNL, watch his full monologue above. In other related news, the G.O.A.T. Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball.