Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says his hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supported gay rights.

Barkley participated in a pre-game tribute to King broadcast Monday on TNT before the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Los Angeles Stapes Center.

The civil rights hero would have been 82 this year had he not been gunned down in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

“You know, every year you tell us how old Dr. King was when he died – you say 39 – that is remarkable to me,” Barkley told Ernie Johnson and Chris Webber. “'Cause clearly I didn't know how old he was when he passed away. But to think he has this enduring legacy. Some people live to be 80 and don't ever make a difference in the world. But to die at 39 and have this great legacy. And I could listen to that speech everyday.”

“People try to make it about black and white. He talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now – people discriminating against homosexuals in this country. I love the people. God bless the gay people. They are great people. We have discrimination against Hispanics in this country right now. We need to answer to that.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)