Dallas -- NBA icon Charles Barkley fired off on a number of topics during his visit to Dallas for the SMU athletic forum Wednesday.

Barkley has never been short on opinions and covered topics ranging from sports, politics, and race. Of the Confederate monument controversy, he said, "I never thought about those statues a day in my life. Racism exists, we have to deal with it.

"It has nothing to do with statues. As a black person, I think that's a waste of my energy. It's a waste of my time."

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) warms up before playing the Arizona Cardinals at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley also weighed in on Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott's situation and how he can improve it. Barkley's no stranger to his own personal issues; he's been convicted of drunk driving and arrested for fighting in public on more than one occasion.

So, his pointed advice comes from someone with experience dealing with life under the microscope.

"He needs to grow up," said Barkley of the Cowboys young star. "The people around you, you're buying all the drinks and you're buying all the meals, they ain't going to never tell you, 'you're wrong.'

"There should be somebody a friend of yours, that says, 'yo man, let's go this ain't a good situation, let's go.' You've got to have good people around you that are not on the payroll."