Nobody's accusing Charles Barkley of being a third-wave feminist -- especially not after his recent comments about female coaches in the NBA.
For those who don't know, a female assistant coach just participated in an NBA game for the first time ever. Becky Hammon is highly respected as a basketball mind, and after her WNBA career ended, she had an assistant job waiting with the San Antonio Spurs.
Tuesday night, she broke a very important gender barrier for the NBA. Barkley, for one, is thrilled. According to The Fader, Barkley praised the Spurs for being such a progressive organization, and he said he thinks Hammon will succeed in the NBA:
"I do think the players are going to listen to her," Barkley says. "It's just a really cool thing to break the ceiling. And hopefully someone else will follow suit. We got some other firsts -- female officials, that was cool."
Had he stopped right there, Barkley would be bathing in a waterfall of praises today. But because he's Charles Barkley, he had to keep talking.
So when Barkley was asked about additional women entering the league as coaches, Barkley established some important qualifications:
"She’s got to have the credentials," Barkley says. "And hopefully, she’s good looking, too. When you’re tired in the huddle, you don't want to look at an ugly person."
It's possible Barkley gave his answer as an obvious joke. But it surely won't be funny to people who read the statement as an attempt to undermine the credentials of female basketball coaches.
Besides, it's not like Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is winning any beauty contests. Yet somehow, he's overcome this deficiency to win five rings since 1999.
So yeah, maybe looks don't matter.