Former NBA star Charles Barkley poked fun at the Jussie Smollett controversy during TNT's halftime coverage of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers game on Thursday night.
“Jussie, you wasted all that damn time and money. You know what you shoulda did?" Barkley said before a commercial break. "Just went up to Liam Neeson’s neighborhood. You coulda solved all your damn problems.”
The former Phoenix Suns player was referencing reports that the Empire star falsified a police report about being the victim of an alleged hate crime in Chicago last month.
Barkley tied it to the backlash Neeson drew earlier this
Earlier during the TNT segment, the commentator made other jokes about Smollett reportedly paying his attackers with a check.
“America, let me just tell you something,” Barkley said. “Do not commit crimes with checks. If you’re gonna break the law, do not write a check. Get cash, man. I never use the ATM. Now, I heard you can only get $200. Make a lot of stops at the ATM. Do not write checks when you commit illegal activity.”
Co-hosts Shaquille O'Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson nervously laughed at the comments.
Smollett was released on bond following his Thursday arrest. He faces up to three years in prison and substantial fines if convicted of a felony charge of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.