STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Now let's focus on somebody you read about in the sports pages. Charles Barkley retired from pro basketball but not from the spotlight. He's a commentator for the cable TV program "Inside the NBA," and that's now a job from which he's taking a leave of absence that follows his arrest a few weeks ago on suspicion of driving under the influence. Our sports commentator Frank Deford still finds him arresting.
FRANK DEFORD: To begin with, he was that oddity, a fat basketball player. The round mound of rebound. Middle-aged, he is a large man of large, intemperate habits, especially where booze, betting and sex are concerned. Sir Charles had baldly admitted losing $2.5 million in six hours at blackjack.
DEFORD: Barkley has agreed to stay away from TNT for a bit. Fair enough. DUI is dangerous business, and he deserves to be punished. but for goodness sake, have we reached a point where we take sports so seriously that chubby, chattering old ex-ballplayers are treated to the standard of preachers and presidents? Amidst all the tedious sports analysts who treat games like worship, Sir Charles happens to be three things, fun, unpredictable and blasphemous. And as always, two out of three ain't bad.
INSKEEP: Commentary from Frank Deford, who usually manages at least two out of those three himself. He joins us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut. It's Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.