Charles Barkley says SF is full of 'homeless crooks' during All-Star game; city official responds

"You can't even walk around down there," said Barkley during the NBA All-Star Game.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco lawmaker is speaking out in response to several derogatory comments made about the city over the weekend.

"Well, San Francisco definitely has challenges but we're far from a dystopian city," said District 4 Supervisor Joel Engardio.

Pro-basketball Hall of Farmer Charles Barkley turned broadcaster is regularly in the spotlight as a TV analyst for TNT and CBS Sports, but he's getting some unwelcome attention for a comment he made during the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night.

"If you had a chance of being in the cold or being around a bunch of homeless crooks in San Francisco, which would you take?" Barkley said during the game.

"We love San Francisco," another announcer responded.

"No we don't!" said Barkley.

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Barkley, also known as 'Sir Charles' or 'Chuck,' didn't hold back his comments of distaste for San Francisco - specifically calling out public safety.

"You can't even walk around down there," said Barkley.

"Yes you can," another announcer responded.

"Yeah, with a bulletproof vest and security," said Barkley.

And this wasn't the first time. The night before during Saturday's NBA All-Star pregame in Indianapolis, Barkley was seated next to Draymond Green.

"Adam, let's get back to these great cities - for All-Star, we got San Francisco next year," said Draymond Green.

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"Oh that's not a great one," said Barkley.

But Green pushed back.

"Relax, that's why you're not welcome there," said Green.

"Wait a second, you got to admit it's a bit dangerous there," Barkley said.

"No they cleaned it up - it's looking real good I promise you," Green said. "We had a conference in the city a few months ago and that's changed everything."

"OK I hope so," Barkley said.

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A flood of comments followed on social media both in support of Barkley as well as criticism of him. Many of them making it clear this is Sir Charles' style - he often doesn't hold back.

Case in point, May of 2022. Different suit, same talk.

"It ain't raining in San Francisco to clean up them dirty a** streets they got there," Barkley said. "San Francisco, you know it's a great city. But all that dirtiness, y'all got to clean it up off the streets."

The trash talk is not new to the NBA and certainly not new to San Francisco. But Supervisor Engardio barked back.

"It's important to note that in San Francisco violent crime is at an all-time historic low," said Engardio. "But we do have too much property crime, businesses are broken into, cars are broken into, and catalytic converters are stolen. We need to give police more resources to do their job."

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Engardio's district covers the Sunset - home to a popular night market.

"What message do you have for Mr. Barkley," ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"I would invite Charles to come to the next Sunset night market that we're going to produce later this year - to see thousands of people, San Franciscans in the street - enjoying each other's company, living their best lives," said Engardio.

ABC7 News reached out to Turner Sports to get further comment from Barkley, but have yet to hear back.

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