Charles Barkley says he learned a valuable lesson about taxes when Bill Russell gave him a lecture out of the blue
Charles Barkleysays Bill Russellonce called him to tell him to stop complaining about paying a high tax rate.
- "Be happy you're making a lot of money and they can tax you a lot," Barkley said Russell told him, while appearing as a guest on The Athletic's "Hoops Adjacent" podcast.
- "There was a time you were poor, when the cops came to your neighborhood, when you went to public school, somebody else was paying those
taxestoo," Russell told Barkley.
- Barkley said that after their conversation he never complained about his taxes again.
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Charles Barkley says that a conversation with Bill Russell made him stop complaining about his taxes.
While appearing as a guest on The Athletic's "Hoops Adjacent" podcast, Barkley told the story of getting a call out of the blue from Russell, who had seen him talking about his tax rate on television and felt the need to make a point.
"Bill Russell called me one time. This is how we became friends," Barkley said. "If you know Bill Russell he don't speak often."
"So I get this weird call from a 206 number. I'm like, other than Gary Payton I don't know anybody in Seattle. I say okay I'm going to check it. I answer the phone, he says, 'Charles Barkley?' I say 'Yes, who's this?' He says, 'Bill Russell.' I say 'Hey Mr. Russell how you doing?' He says, 'Shut the hell up and listen to me.' I say 'Okay, Mr. Russell.' He says 'Where did you grow up?' I said, 'I grew up in Alabama.' He says, 'You went to public school?' I said, 'Yes sir, I went to public school.' He said, 'Did the cops ever come in your neighborhood?' I said, 'Yeah they came a lot.' He said, 'You had good teachers didn't you?' I said, 'Oh I had great teachers.'"
At that point, Russell turned the conversation around on him.
"He said, 'Oh now your black ass making a lot of money, you want to complain about taxes?!'" Barkley said. "I said 'Mr. Russell what are you talking about?' He says 'I saw your black ass on TV talking about you paying a high rate of taxes.'"
"He says, 'Son, let me tell you something. Just because you're making a lot of money now, be happy you're making a lot of money and they can tax you a lot. But there was a time you were poor, when the cops came to your neighborhood, when you went to public school, somebody else was paying those taxes too.'"
Barkley said that Russell's lesson immediately changed his perspective.
"I said 'You know what Mr. Russell, you're right.' And from that day forward, that was in the late '80s, I ain't never complained about my taxes. I'm glad to make a lot of money. I learned a valuable lesson."
You can listen to Barkley's entire appearance on "Hoops Adjacent" here.
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