Former NBA star Charles Barkley and President Barack Obama have one thing in common: they are both big talkers who never quite managed to deliver.
The “celebrity interview” of the president dates back to Leonardo di Caprio’s fawning conversion with then-President Bill Clinton, so Obama is not the first to indulge this dubious journalistic detour. Yet Sunday’s interview on TNT before the NBA All-Star Game was especially awful.
Barkley began with a question about whether LeBron James was actually as good as Michael Jordan. He then asked how often the president is able to play basketball, and how eager he is to see his daughters play. Obama was happy to answer these fluffy questions, since he knows they are the key to reaching casual voters, but they were otherwise a complete waste of time.
The next several questions were about gay players in the NBA. Yawn.
Eventually, halfway through, Barkley got to some substantive issues–sort of: “What do you think of the term ‘Obamacare’?” he asked. He then invited the president to speak to “a specific group” about the policy, and the president encouraged young people to sign up for Obamacare.
Finally, the president talked about a new effort to reach out to black youth. There were no follow-up questions about the rising rate of black teen unemployment.