The man once known by the nickname "The Round Mound Of Rebound" has been waging a very public battle against his waistline. As a celebrity endorser of Weight Watchers, NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Charles Barkley has sung the weight loss program's virtues during a nationally-televised ad campaign.
Caught on a live microphone during the first quarter of Thursday night's Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks broadcast, though, Barkley offered a different take, calling the money he earns from the endorsement a "scam" while joking with Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan off the air. In fairness, he was comparing it to the relatively easy money he makes as an NBA analyst.
"I have to lose two pounds a week. I'm at 38 pounds now. They come and weigh me every two weeks. I've never missed a weigh-in. I'm never going to," Barkley begins. "I'm feeling much better. But I ain't giving away no money. ... I'm not giving away no free money. I thought this was the greatest scam going -- getting paid to watch sports -- but this Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam."
His endorsement deal wasn't the only topic during Barkley's unflitered commentary. "I can't stand to watch this Atlanta Hawks team," he admitted. "The Hawks have nothing but a bunch of nice guys."
Update (4:55 p.m.): On Friday, a PR firm representing WeightWatchers issued statements on behalf of the company and Barkley.
"We love Charles for the same reason everyone loves Charles, he's unfiltered," Weight Watchers' statement read. "We are thrilled that he is having great success and inspiring millions of men to join him. We agree that being a spokesman for Weight Watchers is a pretty great gig.”
"I meant what I said, the fact that I’m dropping pounds, getting healthier and getting paid at the same time, is my definition of a great scam," Barkley's statement read. "The only problem is I’m going to have to use some of the money to buy a new wardrobe."