A couple of days ater John Daly’s admissions of major gambling problems, Charles Barkley admits the same. He’s lost $10 million, but has no intention of quitting… and perhaps not even of slowing down.
“It’s not a problem,” Barkley said on TNT during halftime of the Pistons-Bucks game. “If you’re a drug addict or an alcoholic, those are problems. I gamble for too much money. As long as I can continue to do it I don’t think it’s a problem. Do I think it’s a bad habit? Yes, I think it’s a bad habit. Am I going to continue to do it? Yes, I’m going to continue to do it.”
I think Barkley’s problem is completely different than Daly’s, though… Daly gambles because of a subconscious urge to do something destructive and risky. For him, it’s about his addictive personality. If it’s not gambling, it’d be something else, as Big John has demonstrated very well.
For guys like Barkley and Jordan (and if you don’t think Michael Jordan has a gambling problem, you’re nuts… Reggie Evans nuts), it’s all about competition and the thrill of victory. I don’t think you’re going to catch these guys at slot machines. They’ll play blackjack, where they think they have a competitive advantage by being smarter. It’s all about winning. And a game like blackjack provides them an opportunity to win very often, in a very short period of time.
I’ve got a friend who’s the same way… He’s so absurdly competitive that I can’t throw a game of darts with the fucking guy in his garage without wanting to punch him in his dirty Greek face. And he loves to gamble… blackjack, craps, poker, anything. It’s the same principle.
I’d wish Charles luck in getting his problems straightened out, but I think he’d rather I wish him luck when he hits a 16 against the dealer’s 10.