NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is best known for his celebrated 16-year career as a professional basketball player. Today, Charles remains an important part of the game as a popular commentator on TNT's coverage of the sport. Gayle talks with "Sir Charles," who shares his thoughts on positive role models for today's youth and talks about his goals for the future.
Early in his career, Charles stirred a media controversy when he said sports figures should not be considered role models, a position he says he still maintains. "We're not saving the world," Charles says. "Firemen, teachers, policemen—people like that are important and significant. Hey, I'm just a basketball player."
Charles says his personal role models include such notable figures as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and, most recently, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. Charles says Senator Obama is an excellent role model for today's youth, especially young African-Americans, who he says often have unrealistic goals of pursuing careers in professional sports or entertainment rather than fields such as law, medicine or politics. "Just to see a strong black man who's intelligent, who's articulate, so these kids can see it's all right to be like that [and] it [should be] encouraged," he says.
While Charles may not consider himself a role model on the court, he continues to enjoy noteworthy success off the court. He's authored two books and was recently nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Studio Analyst. He says his next goals are to learn to speak Spanish, play the piano and have $100 million. "Those are the next three things on my agenda," he says. "I've got a long way to go!"