TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Tuesday he would feel uncomfortable drawing a paycheck during the NBA lockout, so he's considering donating his salary to charity.
"I haven't told anybody, but I'm actually -- believe it or not -- I'm leaning toward donating it to charity," Barkley said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I don't think it's cool for me to take money I haven't earned.
"My decision is either going to be defer it or give it to charity."
NBA commissioner David Stern announced after negotiations on Monday the cancellation of at least the first two weeks of the season, and he said a significant gulf remained "on virtually all issues." Barkley is on record predicting the entire 2011-12 season will be canceled.
"The problem I have is if these guys hold out all season, it's going to be a lot of money," Barkley said."That's why I have to make that decision. I haven't made the final decision.
"I don't feel comfortable taking money for not working. I'll either defer it or give it to charity."
Barkley said the players' only chance of salvaging something out of the 2011-12 season is if they take a 50-50 split of Basketball Related Income, which would be down from their previous share of 57 percent.
But Stern said Monday the owners have reverted back to their previous position of offering the players just 47 percent of BRI in a new deal.
"There are two groups I feel bad for," Barkley said. "I feel bad for the people who work for these teams, because they're going to start laying off some of these people soon. And then I feel bad for the people who work at these arenas. They're going to take the brunt of this. And that's unfortunate."
Barkley isn't sure if the owners are losing as much money as they claim, but he said there's one part of this equation that hasn't suffered.
"We've been in a recession for basically three years," he said. "I think it's disingenuous to think all these owners, with as much money as they've been paying, haven't been losing some money. I don't know the answer to [whether they've lost as much as they claim].
"But we have been in a recession. The only thing that hasn't gone down are players' salaries, and players' salaries are going to continue to go up. So I think that is a legitimate concern. I think everybody who owns a business has been struggling somewhat financially the last three years."
Barkley said he admires Stern's motivation to save the small-market teams through better revenue sharing.
"I think David Stern is the best commissioner in sports," he said. "I listen to both of these sides very carefully when they say stuff. I don't listen to the BS. You can fool the fans, you can fool the media, but you can't fool someone who's really paying attention.
"If you notice, he mentioned every small-market team. The NBA owners are going to protect these small-market teams. They don't like the fact all the stars want to play in big cities. And this whole thing is going to be about: We're not going to be like baseball, where you have 20 bad franchises that are really like a minor league system until the players get good enough and then they go to the Yankees or Red Sox.
"I thought it was very telling that Commissioner Stern mentioned every small-market team. That's what this thing is about. They're not going to let just the big markets dominate like they do in baseball."