Charles Barkley does (not) have a gambling problem

Charles Barkley tells GQ (a little PG-13):

Yeah, I like to gamble. And I'm going to keep gambling. And I just have to tell people, if they don't like it, they can kiss my a--. F--- 'em. You know, I quit gambling for a while. But then I was like, 'Why am I quitting gambling? I don't have a problem.'"

When it comes to gambling, Barkley has wrestled with the word "problem." In a May 2006 ESPN report he said:

Barkley said Wednesday on ESPN that he has lost "probably $10 million" gambling, adding, "It is a problem for me."

"My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun," he said. "That's easier said than done.

"Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem but I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble. It's just a stupid habit that I've got to get under control, because it's just not a good thing to be broke after all of these years," he added.

Barkley told ESPN that he's working to solve the problem.

"I gamble too much, I gamble for too much money," he said. "And it's something I have to address ... I am addressing it, that would be the best way to explain it."

Just to recap:

  • "I don't have a problem."

  • "It is a problem for me."

  • "I do have a gambling problem."

  • "I don't consider it a problem."

He's exactly right: It's a free country. It's none of our business how he spends his money. He's not asking for any handouts.

I'm sure we almost all follow his line of reasoning there.

But am I convinced he's in control of how he spends his time and money? No. Not at all.