Charles Barkley for N.C. House Speaker?!?

The Observer editorial board

It’s clear what Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks of HB2.
It’s clear what Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski thinks of HB2. AP

Charles Barkley doesn’t know the difference between Annapolis and Indianapolis, but he knows the difference between North Carolina and South Carolina: North Carolina is the one that discriminates.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski – hardly known for his liberal leanings – knows it too. So does UNC Coach Roy Williams.

At a time when the nation should be watching Duke and Carolina play their first-round NCAA tournament games in Greensboro, it is instead being reminded, on a prominent stage, of our state’s shameful stain known as HB2. Thousands of fans cheered UNC and Duke on Friday – in Greenville, S.C., instead of in Greensboro. That’s also where they spent their money on hotels, food and other items.

Krzyzewski, the sport’s all-time winningest coach, usually stays out of politics. He couldn’t help himself this week in Greenville, though.

He said North Carolina legislators weren’t “smart enough” to produce a landscape in which the NCAA could hold its events. “But maybe we’ll get there in the next century,” Coach K said.

“Look,” he added. “It’s a stupid thing. That’s my political statement. If I was president or governor I’d get rid of it. And I’d back up my promises. As unusual as that might be.”

Williams said he was “very sad, very disappointed about the whole thing.”

Barkley, a basketball analyst and personality, responded to Krzyzewski’s remarks.

“Now, my point, as a black man, I am against any form of discrimination whether you’re gay, Muslim, Hispanic, Jewish, whatever, and if people in position of power don’t support these people, they’re gonna be left in a lurch by themselves.

“Discrimination is wrong in any shape whatsoever.”

North Carolina’s elected leaders shouldn’t need advice from Charles Barkley, but the man obviously is right on this one.

Republican legislators, who have vice-grip control over what passes in the General Assembly, will not pass a repeal of House Bill 2. And so North Carolina continues to pay the price.

And if you thought there was any hope of the NCAA and ACC returning to North Carolina without repeal, consider the chances of that when three of the game’s most admired, accomplished and respected people take to the national stage to criticize the law.