Charles Barkley unplugged and unfiltered: fighting in the NBA, his time in Phoenix, Jeff Hornacek’s future

Always out-spoken, always entertaining former Phoenix Suns great now NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley joined’s Brad Cesmat Tuesday for a wide-ranging conversation stretching across the sports landscape and beyond.

Below are some exerts from the interview.

How do you think Jeff Hornacek will do here as a head coach? “I like Jeff. I really like Jeff a lot as a person but listen the Suns aren’t a good team, man. It won’t be because of coaching. You could bring Phil Jackson in here and they’re still gonna stink.”

On how your career ended with the Suns: “The Suns screwed me here in Phoenix. I never wanted to leave Phoenix…the thing with the Suns is, I played here four years. I get a call from some Houston Rockets [players]. They said ‘if we trade for you, you’re not going to ask for a new contract, are you?’ I said ‘the Suns aren’t trading me I’m the only guy who can play.’ They said, ‘no, no they’re shopping you.’ I called the Suns and they said they weren’t trading me…the Suns screwed me. There’s a lot of rumors out there, B.S, that I wanted out of Phoenix. That never, ever happened.”

Is Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA? “I don’t understand why people keep calling Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA. That’s Tony Parker. I think Chris Paul is the best leader. Ya know, the best leader used to be Jason Kidd but now it’s Chris Paul but he’s not a better leader than Tony Parker. I hear all these guys who think they know something about basketball don’t have a clue. Anybody who thinks Chris Paul is better point guard than Tony Parker is just an idiot.”

Who’d you get in a fight with when you thought to yourself that wasn’t a smart move? “I was never worried about that. I liked my chances against anybody in a fight to be honest with you…there’s a reason I’ve been arrested eight times. I’m not taking any crap off anybody. I’m not worried about going to jail. They’ll get me out in the morning.”

Would it be in the Cardinals best interest to trade Larry Fitzgerald? “This is business. There’s no sense in Larry being a great player just running out his career and we don’t have anything to show for him in two or three years. If I got a chance to get a couple high draft picks and start building for the future that’s how you run your business…you can’t re-sign old players.”

To hear the rest of the interview click here.