Dallas -- NBA icon Charles Barkley weighed in on a wide range of topics during a visit to Dallas as part of SMU's athletic forum, and the Hall of Famer offered advice to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

"You've got to have good people around you," Barkley said, "who are not on the payroll.

"You've got to have good friends in this thing," he added. "The people around you, you're buying all the drinks, and you're buying all the meals. They ain't never gone tell you you're wrong. They want that free meal and they want those free drinks."

NBA Icon Charles Barkley speas at the SMU Athleitc Forum at the Hilton Anatole. September 20, 2017

Barkley said with the advent of social media and other media attention that surrounds Elliott, he has to realize that he can't live a normal life.

"We don't get the luxury of being 22 and doing stupid things," he said. "We don't get that luxury.
Every mistake you make when you're in the limelight is going to be on television.

"He needs to grow up," Barkley said.

Barkley has experienced his own personal troubles, with a drunk driving conviction and more than one arrest for fighting in public. So he has experience in what he speaks.

He said part of the maturation process is finding one friend in particular who's always looking out for Elliott's best interest, especially when he's in public.

"There should be somebody, a friend of yours, that says, 'yo man, let's go. This ain't a good situation. Let's go."