• Barkley on Republicans: ‘All they talk about is immigration’
  • On Warriors: ‘They’re not going to win the championship this year’

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley gave his two cents on the presidential race on Tuesday by saying “all politics is rich people screwing poor people” and that “poor people are too stupid to know they’re just chess pieces in a game”.

Barkley, the 76ers and Suns great turned outspoken commentator, was speaking at the NCAA basketball tournament media day, and got straight into the meat of the issue.

Barkley said he wasn’t exactly thrilled by the Democratic party – “I’ve always voted Democratic. Always. I don’t know why. I’m trying to figure out exactly what they’ve done for us” – but he saved most of his ire for the Republican party, claiming that the party was exploiting ordinary Americans’ fears about race and immigration – and doing a great job of it.

“The Republicans always do a good job of dividing and conquering. They do a really good job of making black folks, poor white folks and Hispanics not like each other. Everybody wants to talk about black and white, when the situation is really about rich people against poor people.

“All they talk about is immigration, the notion that illegal immigrants are ruining our country [by] taking jobs. We’re shipping all our jobs out of the country. That’s, to me, worse than a few Hispanics who come here to work their behinds off. If you’re a poor white person and your life sucks, it’s easy for you to blame Hispanics cos you don’t want to look in the mirror and say: ‘I’m the reason my life sucks.’ The Republicans do a good job exploiting that.

“All politics is rich people screwing poor people. Poor people are too stupid to know they’re just chess pieces in a game. All the poor white people, all the poor black people, all the Hispanics, they’re in the same boat. They’ve got no economic opportunities. They spend all their time blaming each other because rich people throw words at them like illegal immigration and racism and things like that. If poor people ever get smart, and realize: ‘We should band together, rise up, instead of fighting each other,’ we probably can make a difference.

Last summer, Barkley, who said he normally votes Democratic but is considering switching parties, said he liked Ohio’s Republican governor John Kasich. He did not say whether he preferred Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

“The whole thing has turned me off because it’s gotten to the point where I watched the last eight years of Barack [Obama],” Barkley said on Tuesday. “The Republicans disagree with every single thing he says. I feel bad for the American people. It’s is going to have zero effect on my life who the president is. I’ll be rich either way.”

Barkley also presented a provocative view about the champion Warriors, currently 56-6 in the West and a team that made history on Monday by securing their 45th straight home win.

“They have a terrific team. They’ve been great for the NBA,” Barkley said on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday. “I’m telling you right now. They’re not going to win the championship this year.”