NBA legend Charles Barkley once left a $25,000 tip—here's why he always tips a minimum of 20%

US basketball player Charles Barkley arrives for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California.
Lisa O'Connor | AFP | Getty Images

Former NBA star Charles Barkley is generous with the millions of dollars he accumulated over his 16-season career.

He never tips less than 20%, and, "depending on the service," it's usually more, he told Conan O'Brien on a 2020 episode of his podcast, "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend."

"The reason I tip so much is, people who normally work in those fields, they survive on tips," he said. "Me giving them some extra money is going to have zero affect on my life, but it might have a huge affect upon their life."

He once left a blackjack dealer a $25,000 tip. That was after he won "about $700,000," he told O'Brien in a separate interview in 2014. "I probably should have tipped more, to be honest," he added. After all, 25 grand is about 3% of $700,000. But, "I thought that was pretty generous because when you lose money, they don't give you any back."

Shaquille O'Neal is also known for his generous tips. He doesn't stick to a minimum rule like Barkley, though, he simply asks the server how much they want.

"When I'm at restaurants, I am a big tipper," the retired NBA star told Jimmy Kimmel in 2017. "I like to show people my appreciation. When they come up to the table, I say, The quicker I get my order, the bigger your tip will be. And then the food will come fast.

"Then, when we're getting ready to leave, I'll ask them: How much do you want?" The most anyone has ever asked for was $4,000, "and I said, OK no problem," he recalled.

As for the valet, they'll get about $300 for parking his car, O'Neal told Kimmel.

He seems to follow Barkley's rule of thumb: "The more successful you are, the more you should tip," Barkley told O'Brien.

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Facebook alum and venture capitalist explains why he almost always tips 100%
Facebook alum and venture capitalist explains why he almost always tips 100%