NBA icon Charles Barkley sends message to anti-LGBTQ+ bigots: ‘F**k you!’

Charles Barkley holds a microphone on stage in Las Vegas

A clip has gone viral of former NBA star Charles Barkley, in which he expresses his love for queer folk and tells homophobes: “F**k you!”

In the video, which has spread like wildfire across social media, Barkley can be seen on stage at a hotel and casino in Las Vegas, giving a frank message to bigots.

He yells into a microphone: “I want to say this: If you’re gay and transgender, I love you! Hey and if anybody give you s**t, you tell them Charles said ‘F**k you!’”

Barkley, known fondly by fans as “Sir Charles”, played in the NBA for 16 seasons, and also has a long history of being a staunch LGBTQ+ ally.

He publicly expressed his support for same-sex marriage before it was legalised in the US, and has hit out at anti-trans legislation like North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill”.

He said at the time: “As a Black person, I’m against any form of discrimination — against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it, it’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves.”

In a 2020 interview on The Ellen Show, he added: “Black people know what discrimination is like.

“And if you’re in a position of power, you got to always stand up against discrimination… I’m never gonna sit back and let discrimination happen on my watch.”

Sharing the Las Vegas clip of Barkley on social media, US trans writer activist Charlotte Clymer said: “I love Charles Barkley. Everything I’ve ever heard about the man says he’s good people.

“And I wish he knew how much this video is giving hope to LGBTQ youth who are very scared of living in this country right now.”