"Two Black Guys Beating a Black Guy up Would Never Happen": Charles Barkley's Joke about Jussie Smollett, Liam Neeson Goes Viral

In the world of sports broadcasting, few people are as outspoken and opinionated as Charles Barkley.

The TNT's analyst has absolutely no problems in expressing in his opinions, no matter how controversial or unpopular they might be. Chuck says what Chuck thinks.

On Thursday night, as part of TNT's halftime coverage of Houston Rockets' game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Ernie Johnson asked his fellow analysts to analyze some of their early season predictions.

Standing in front of a board containing a list of predictions written on post-it notes, Johnson quizzed his panel over which prediction had "no chance of happening".

The NBA on TNT host was obviously looking for an NBA-related answer but Barkley steered the conversation away from basketball and onto current affairs.

"Two black guys beating a black guy up," the 11-time All-Star replied.

As Johnson cautioned Barkley he might not be allowed to get away with such comments, the one-time MVP and fellow analysts Shaquille O'Neal broke into laughter.

The joke was in reference to Jussie Smollett, who three weeks ago claimed he was victim of a hate crime against a black, gay actor.

Smollett, an actor on FOX's TV show Empire, said he was attacked by two strangers who beat him, before dousing him in bleach and leaving him with a rope tied against his round neck. The alleged hate-crime attack unfolded on January 29 and left Smollett in hospital with several injuries, including a fractured rib.

The case eventually led Chicago police to arrest two brothers, Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo. The duo were released after 48 hours and earlier this week the police arrested Smollett, accusing him of filing a false police report.

It has since emerged the 36-year-old had staged the attack and paid the two brothers a cheque of $3,500 to carry out the attack.

It was all too much for Barkley.

"America," he said. "Let me just tell you something. Do not commit crimes with checks. If you're gonna break the law, do not write a check. Get cash, man […] You think they put that on the receipt? Facemask, rope, bleach?"

Chuck's jokes, predictably, was immediately a hit on social media.

The former NBA star than suggested Smollett could have found a more cost-efficient way to stage the attack, by simply paying a visit to Liam Neeson's neighborood.

Earlier this month, the Irish-born actor revealed he had felt the "primal urge" to attack random black people in the street after one of his friends had been raped by a black man.

"You wasted all that damn time and money," Barkley quipped You know what you should've did? Just went up to Liam Neeson's neighborhood. It would've solved all your damn problems."

During an interview with The Independent, Neeson said news of the rape ignited an incredible rage in him.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody. I'm ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week—hoping some 'black b*****d' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him."

Charles Barkley
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley speaks during a get out the vote campaign rally for democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones on December 11, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
"Two Black Guys Beating a Black Guy up Would Never Happen": Charles Barkley's Joke about Jussie Smollett, Liam Neeson Goes Viral | Sports