The constantly interrupting marble-mouth is a loose cannon of the highest order on TNT's Inside the NBA. He can say anything about anyone at any time without so much as blinking. He's widely considered to be one of the funniest men on television, and while his basketball insight can frequently be called into question, his presence is a huge part of why Inside the NBA has been a long-term success: he fits with host Ernie Johnson and partner Kenny Smith.
Of course, though, he's still a loose cannon, so you still get regrettable episodes like one Thursday night in which Barkley flipped off Johnson and the audience.
During a discussion of Kobe Bryant's messed-up finger, Barkley stated that all basketball players have similar issues. Johnson asked Barkley if he "has a Kobe finger." Barkley never misses an opening like that, and proceeded to show Johnson and the camera his middle finger before busting into laughter. Take a look.
Is it a big deal? No, of course not. As we've been over a million times, Barkley is not a role model. He's actually a bit of a disaster on the personal level. That he's rash enough to put Johnson on the spot like that -- E.J. admits he should have seen that coming -- is hardly surprising. And all told, the middle finger is only gasp-worthy insomuch as it has remained one of those post-Puritan taboos. If you think Barkley's bird will send your children to the bathhouse, take a gander at embarrassing network fare like Two and a Half Men sometime. With a semi-autobiographical Charlie Sheen running around spreading V.D., Barkley's finger hardly seems like a cultural serial killer.
Hat-tip to Larry Brown Sports and Twitter/Twitvid user @jose3030.