Charles Barkley: 'I Have a Man Crush on Dan Campbell'

January 24, 2024, 11:30 PM by  Allan Lengel

Gayle King and Charles Barkley on CNN's "King Charles"

Detroit Lions mania seems to be sweeping the country and it's even infecting folks like ex-NBA star and TV personality Charles Barkley.

"I have fell in love with the Detroit Lions," Barkley said Wednesday night on his CNN show, "King Charles" with co-host Gayle King. "I have a man crush on Dan Campbell."

He went on to say if he ever played football he'd want to play for Lions Coach Campbell. 

Guest comic Keegan-Michael Key, who grew up in Southfield and is a huge Lions fan, agreed with Barkley that he'd love to play for Campbell, too. 

Keegan-Michael Key on CNN

Key went on to talk about Campbell in gushing terms.

"I think what he has done in that city and that team has been so amazing," Key said. "The culture that he’s established for the team; he calls it grit and I think grit is one of those terms that can be described in a lot of different ways.

"As I mentioned before, resiliency, resiliency is one of those things that I think that Dan brings to the team. He keeps them mentally strong, mentally tough, and I think those young men would do absolutely anything for him. He’s sprinkled his magic dust all over that team and all over that city, that is so thankful to Sheila (Ford) Hamp, who is the owner of the team and her staff for hiring Dan. There’s something really special about him. He’s a natural born leader, he’s amazing."

Key talks about growing up a Lions fan.

Coach Dan Campbell

"I’ve loved this team since I was a kid," he said. "And I remember going to friends’ houses and watching the games when we were young in the 80s, when we really had a good team."

He goes on to talk about what the team represents.

"There’s something about the blue collar, hardworking nature of our city that this team reflects...Us always trying to fight and fight and fight to get over. I’ve watched my city come to this place where there’s a rebirth and this team reflects this rebirth."

"Everybody loves an underdog story and we are an underdog story," Key said. 

"I’m just going to say it, we are the new America’s team. Detroit reflects this hard working, honest energy that you can see across our nation."

Near the end of the interview Barkley again talks about his new allegiance to the Lions.

"I’m telling you, I am pulling for the Detroit Lions. I don’t know anybody on their team. I’m just a big Dan Campbell fan. Obviously, I know a couple players that I’ve never met."

"But I am all in on the Detroit Lions. Please get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl."

The Lions play San Francisco on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. for the NFC championship. The winner goes to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.


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