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CNBC Transcript: NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley Speaks with CNBC’s Susan Li on “Power Lunch” Today

WHEN: Today, Thursday, July 21st

WHERE: CNBC's "Power Lunch"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley on CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET) today, Thursday, July 21st. Barkley discusses the NBA, the Olympics, golfing and the election, among other topics. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000536542.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

SULLIVAN: LET'S GET BACK TO SUSAN LI WHERE SHE'S SITTING DOWN WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN THE NBA, AND MAYBE BROADCASTING HISTORY -- CHARLES BARKLEY.

LI: CERTAINLY A MAN WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HIS MIND SIR CHARLES.

BARKLEY: HOW ARE YOU DOING I LOVE THAT LITTLE INTRO BY MY MAN.

LI: I HAVE TO ASK, LAST YEAR YOU FINISHED SECOND TO LAST.

BARKLEY: THAT'S MY ONLY GOAL NOT TO COME IN LAST PLACE. THAT'S MY ONLY GOAL IN LIFE I HAVE TO FIND SOMEBODY WHO IS WORST THAN ME. THAT'S MY ONLY GOAL.

LI: APPARENTLY WE HAVE THE SAME GOLF SWING LOOKS LIKE A LUMBERJACK TRYING TO CHOP DOWN A TREE.

BARKLEY: LISTEN AS LONG AS YOU CAN SMOKE A COUPLE OF CIGARS AND DRINK SOME BEERS. GOLF IS THE GREATEST SPORT IN THE WORLD. GOLF IS THE ONLY SPORT THEY HAVE PEOPLE DRIVING AROUND GIVING YOU ALCOHOL. THEY LET YOU KNOW IT IS A HARD SPORT. SO YOU SHOULD GO OUT AND HAVE FUN.

LI: OK SO LET'S TALK ABOUT THOSE HAVING FUN IN CLEVELAND AT THE NATIONAL CONVENTION . SOME SAY YOU HAD ASPIRATIONS TO BE THE GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA?

BARKLEY: WELL THEY WANTED ME TO THE GOVERNOR. I DIDN'T HAVE ASPIRATIONS. IM NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. -- I'M ON VACATION FOR THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS. I ACTUALLY LIKE THAT BETTER THAN WORKING EVERY DAY. POLITICS IS SOMETHING I HAD CONSIDERED BUT IT HAS GOTTEN SO DISGUSTING FOR ME HOW THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS JUST DISAGREE ON EVERY SUBJECT. FIRST OF ALL THERE'S NOBODY IN THE WORLD THAT YOU DISAGREE WITH EVERY SUBJECT ON. IT HAS BECOME SO SILLY. IT IS INTERESTING I HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION ALL WEEK THEN YOU GO TO THE PUNDITS AFTERWARDS, AND THEY'RE LIKE ALL DEMOCRATS BASH THE GUY WHO WAS SPEAKING, ALL THE REPUBLICANS DEFEND THE PERSON WHO WAS SPEAKING, IT'S JUST SILLY IT HAS FLAT OUT GOTTEN TO THE POINT -- I FEEL BAD FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE NOTION THAT YOU DISAGREE ON EVERY SUBJECT IS FLAT OUT SILLY -- I'VE ALWAYS VOTED DEMOCRATIC, AND I'M PROBABLY GOING TO DO IT AGAIN MORE THAN LIKELY. THIS NOTION THAT WE HAVE THESE POLITICIANS SPEAK, THEN TO HAVE THESE PUNDITS ON TELEVISION WHO DEFEND OR BASH THE OTHER GROUP IS JUST SILLY.

LI: WELL MY COLLEAGUE TYLER HAS A QUESTION FOR YOU.

MATHISEN: CHARLES GREAT TO SEE YOU. YOU KNOW YOU WERE ON THE MOST FAMOUS BASKETBALL TEAM OF ALL TIME THE FIRST DREAM TEAM, AND A LOT OF GREAT NBA PLAYERS ARE NOT GOING TO RIO. PARTLY BECAUSE OF INJURY. PARTLY BECAUSE I ASSUME THEY'RE ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE SCARES THERE OR OTHER REASONS. IF YOU WERE STILL PLAYING WOULD YOU PLAY IN RIO THIS YEAR?

BARKLEY: A GREAT QUESTION. I THINK IT DEPENDS ON A COUPLE THINGS. I THINK NUMBER ONE IF I HAD PLANNED ON HAVING KIDS, I THINK IT'S SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO REALLY CONSIDER. ONE OF THE GREAT DOCTORS IN THE WORLD WHO I ADMIRE AND RESPECT IS SANJAY GUPTA. I SPENT A LITTLE TIME TALKING TO HIM ABOUT THE ZIKA VIRUS. HE TOLD ME IF YOU PLAN ON HAVING KIDS, WHEN YOU COME BACK FROM BRAZIL, YOU KNOW, THAT THING CAN STAY DORMANT IN YOUR SYSTEM UP TO A COUPLE MONTHS, SO I CAN UNDERSTAND YOUNG GUYS WHO THINK THEY MIGHT HAVE KIDS IN THE FUTURE, SOMETHING THEY HAVE TO CONSIDER. I REALLY CAN'T ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS FAIR, TO BE HONEST WITH YOU. THE OLYMPICS TO ME ARE THE COOLEST SPORTING EVENT IN THE WORLD, BUT THIS IS PROBABLY THE TOUGHEST DECISIONS SOME OF THESE GUYS -- THE GOLFERS HAD TO MAKE THAT DECISION. I JUST DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION. LET ME SAY THIS. I'M NOT GOING TO LIE TO YOU. I CANCELED THE OLYMPICS LAST WEEK MYSELF. SO I WAS AFRAID OF THE ZIKA AND THE VIOLENCE. I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO DO SOME REPORTING, AND I CANCELED. SO I GUESS YES I'M A WUSS, TOO AND IM NOT GOING.

MATHISEN: THE OLYMPICS WILL BE LESS FUN, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT THERE. I PROMISE YOU THAT, BRIAN.

SULLIVAN: IT'S A BARKLEY LOVE-FEST. AND CHARLES YOU'RE WELCOME FOR THAT INTRODUCTION. WE CALL IT AD-LIBBING IN THE BUSINESS. LETS GET BACK TO GOLF QUICKLY. DO YOU THINK TIGER WOODS WILL EVER PLAY AGAIN?

BARKLEY: I HOPE SO. YOU KNOW HE JUST HAS TO GET HEALTHY I THINK HE MADE A GREAT DECISION NOT TO PLAY FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. I WANT TO SEE TIGER COME BACK. I THINK HE'S THE GREATEST GOLFER WHO EVER LIVED. NO DISRESPECT TO JACK NICKLAUS. I THINK TIGER IS THE GREATEST GOLFER WHO EVER LIVED. I THINK HE'S GOT TO BE ENCOURAGED BY PHIL MICKELSON BEING 46. LAST SUNDAY WAS THE BEST GOLF I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE BETWEEN HENRIK STENSON AND PHIL. SO TIGER'S 40, PHIL'S 46 I THINK THE NUMBER ONE THING I JUST HOPE HE GETS HEALTH BECAUSE GOLF IS BETTER WHEN TIGER IS PLAYING.

LI: WE ALSO HAVE STEPH CURRY HERE AS WELL.

BARKLEY: YES HE'S A HELL OF A GOLFER, NOT A BAD BASKETBALL PLAYER, EITHER.

LI: HE'LL HAVE A PRETTY AWESOME TEAM WHEN THE SEASON ROLLS AROUND. YOU CRITICIZED KEVIN DURANT. YOU SAID HE IS CHEATING A TITLE

BARKLEY: I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN KEVIN I THOUGHT HE SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN OKLAHOMA CITY. THE NBA IS BETTER WHEN WE HAVE COMPETITIVE BALANCE. I DIDN'T GO CRAZY. I JUST SAID I WAS DISAPPOINTED. KEVIN IS A GREAT PLAYER, HE'S A GREAT KID, BUT IN THE NBA WE NEED COMPETITIVE BALANCE. WE NEED MORE STARS SPREAD OUT OVER THE ENTIRE NBA. WHAT WE CAN'T HAVE IS –ONE OR TWO GREAT TEAMS AND THE REST

LI: SO YOU THINK THE NBA IS GOING TO STEP IN TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING?

BARKLEY: WELL THEY'RE GOING TO THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND. I GUARANTEE WE'LL HAVE A LOCKOUT NEXT SUMMER THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND. FIRST OF ALL, THIS IS BUSINESS. THESE GUYS ARE BILLIONAIRES THEY'RE NOT GOING TO LET THESE PLAYERS RUIN THEIR BUSINESS. I WILL BET ANYBODY RIGHT NOW 100% THEY'LL HAVE A LOCKOUT. I SAW PAT RILEY TALKING ABOUT IT LAST WEEK HAVING A FRANCHISE TAG. LISTEN, THERE'S NO WAY IN THE WORLD THESE NBA OWNERS ARE GOING TO LET THESE SUPER-TEAMS CONTINUE. WE'RE GOING TO GET LOCKED OUT NEXT SUMMER, WHICH IS GOOD FOR ME. BECAUSE I PLAY GOLF AND FISH EVERY DAY AND I GET PAID DURING A LOCKOUT.

MATHISEN: LET ME FOLLOW UP ONE FINAL QUESTION THAT REALLY FLOWS OUT OF WHAT YOU WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THE PLAYERS HAVE BEEN SIGNING FOR THIS SUMMER, I KNOW -- I MEAN, YOU MADE NICE MONEY BUT YOU DID NOT MAKE THIS KIND OF MONEY. MIKE CONLEY 153 MILLION BUCKS. NEVER BEEN AN ALL-STAR. RYAN ANDERSON, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO HE IS, CHARLES. TIMOFEY MOZGOV $64 MILLION FOR FOUR YEAR AND HE DIDN'T PLAY IN THE LAST THREE GAMES OF THE FINALS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MONEY?

BARKLEY: LET ME JUST SAY THAT. THAT'S GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT.

MATHISEN: YEAH.

BARKLEY: YOU KNOW, TO BE HONEST WITH YOU. BETWEEN TNT AND ESPN, WE PAY -- THE NEW TELEVISION DEAL WE'RE PAYING A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. NOW THE NEW DEAL STARTING THIS YEAR, WE'RE PAYING $2.5 BILLION A YEAR. SO THE MONEY'S THERE. HEY, LISTEN, MAN. GOD BLESS THESE PLAYERS. YOU KNOW, I TOLD MY MOM, I GOT MAD AT HER FOR HAVING ME TOO SOON AND GOD BLESS THESE PLAYERS. THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE BECAUSE OF TV REVENUE AND SO I CAN'T HATE. I MADE MORE MONEY THAN THE GREAT BILL RUSSELL AND THOSE GUYS. IT'S INFLATION

SULLIVAN: CHARLES, BEFORE YOU GO, ON BACK OF THAT, WHAT WOULD CHARLES BARKLEY IN HIS PEAK YEAR SIGN FOR IN TODAY'S DOLLARS? WHAT WOULD YOUR CONTRACT BE TODAY? SERIOUSLY. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD GET?

BARKLEY: WELL, THE MAX GUYS ARE MAKING $30 MILLION A YEAR. SO, I ALWAYS TELL GUYS, IF I PLAYED TODAY, THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND I'D BE GOING TO THE GAME IN A SPACESHIP.

SULLIVAN: CHARLES -- THAT'S WHY YOU'RE CHARLES BARKLEY.

MATHISEN: GUEST HOST WITH US ANY TIME. IN NEW YORK, COME BY.

BARKLEY: I TELL YOU WHAT. IF YOU GIVE ME SOME GOOD FINANCIAL ADVICE, COUNT ME IN.

MATHISEN: YOU'RE IN. YOU'RE ON. DONE. SUSAN, CHARLES, THANKS. WE'LL BE BACK.

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