Charles Barkley shocked fans in late February when he piled onto allegations that Jussie Smollett faked a hate crime in Chicago — but even after the "Empire" actor's charges were dropped this week, the former NBA star said he was sticking by his initial "sound advice."
"When you commit a crime, don't write a check," joked Barkley during an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Wednesday, though Smollett was granted a nolle pros, which basically means his case has been dropped.
Colbert asked Barkley to weigh in on Smollett's case, given the eyebrow-raising remarks he made about it during TNT's NBA halftime show on Feb. 21.
“I think that we all lose. I think my black friends, my gay black friends, I think they lose because there’s all repercussions when you’re a minority. There’s always a double standard. You have to understand that and accept that. For every black, gay person out there, we lost. And it’s unfortunate," Barkley said. "I don’t know that kid, I wish him nothing but the best ...but you always have to look at the bigger picture."
The 56-year-old acknowledged there are other gay kids out there struggling and claimed Smollett's case damaged what he called an already "tenuous" relationship between the black community and police.
"We made the cops look really bad in this scenario and there's probably going to be some resentment," Barkley said. "And the bottom line is: Everybody lost in this scenario. It's not good."
The audience applauded after Barkley concluded his statement, as Colbert agreed, "No [it's not good]."
Barkley's tone was much more serious this time around. Last month, he made headlines for making light of the situation, drawing nervous laughter from his co-hosts and off-camera staffers during halftime coverage of a Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers game.
“America, let me just tell you something,” said Barkley, alluding to reports at the time that Smollett had allegedly written a $3,500 check to pay for two men to attack him. “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 dollars … Gonna make a lot of stops at the ATM. … Do not write checks when you commit illegal activity.”
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts in connection to his Chicago attack allegations in early March. He pleaded not guilty and was cleared of all charges by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office on Tuesday. Evidence in the case is also expected to remain sealed.
The "Empire" star has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and said Tuesday he was ready "to just get back to work and move on" with his life.
Fox News' Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.