Charles Barkley Blasts Crowd 'Stupidity' For Booing Donald Trump Over Vaccines

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has said a crowd in Alabama that booed former President Trump for encouraging vaccination against COVID-19 showed "stupidity."

Barkley, who was born in Leeds, Alabama, spoke to AL.com's Outbreak Alabama: Stories from a Pandemic podcast on Tuesday about COVID vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy.

Trump was booed by some of his supporters at an event in Cullman, Alabama on Saturday when he suggested they should get vaccinated against the virus. He also told the crowd he believed "totally in your freedoms."

Barkley will headline a pro-vaccine rally at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama this Saturday, August 28.

On Tuesday, he was asked about Alabamians who didn't want to take the vaccine because they didn't like being told what to do.

"You know that's really kind of a stupid reasoning," Barkley said.

"We're asking them to protect themselves and their fellow human beings. I mean, listen, nobody likes being told what to do, but this is a little bit different. I mean, we're trying to get them to take care of themselves, first and foremost, but also protect the other people around you.

"Nobody likes to be told what to do but we're asking you to take care of yourself, your fellow man, your fellow women and more importantly, kids. I don't think that's a lot to ask for," Barkley went on.

Barkley also weighed in on why so many people in Alabama had not been vaccinated. Just 36.8 percent of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated.

"Just my personal opinion, I think these politicians have just done such an awful job of telling us what to do," Barkley said.

"I actually saw when President Trump was there this weekend—and Alabama's a Trump stronghold—and they booed him for telling people to take the vaccine. I mean, if that's not the ultimate hypocrisy and stupidity, I just don't know what is."

The former president told rallygoers on Saturday: "I believe totally in your freedoms, I do. You gotta do what you gotta do, but I recommend take the vaccines. I did it. It's good."

His comment was met with boos from some in the crowd, and he continued: "That's OK, that's all right. You got your freedoms, but I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know, OK? I'll call up Alabama and say, 'Hey, you know what?' But it is working."

In his interview, Barkley argued that getting vaccinated against COVID "ain't just about you as an individual" and he went on to say he would never forgive himself if made someone else sick.

Charles Barkley Speaks at a Podium
Charles Barkley speaks at the podium prior to his sculpture being unveiled at the Philadelphia 76ers training facility on September 13, 2019 in Camden, New Jersey. Barkley is urging people in his home state of Alabama to get vaccinated. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images