Charles Barkley is going scorched earth on "idiots" who are criticizing the NBA's handling of the China situation ... calling people "jackasses" and hypocrites for blasting the league!!
The ex-NBA superstar says he can't believe the way people are coming at Adam Silver ... saying there are BILLIONS of dollars on the line, and he understands why the league is trying to finesse its way through the drama.
In fact, Barkley says those criticizing the association are a bunch of hypocrites ... saying the same people who grilled Colin Kaepernick for taking a stance are now the ones hating on the NBA for NOT taking one!
"First of all, you guys have been killing Colin Kaepernick for the last X amount of years," Barkley said on the 'Dan Patrick Show' on Thursday.
"Now, all the sudden you want to control what happens in a foreign country?"
If you missed it ... Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey incited an international controversy just a few days ago when he tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong.
For the most part ... NBA players and execs have shied away from backing Morey -- and Barkley says he certainly gets why.
"They have billions of dollars at stake," Barkley says. "It's a business decision. I understand the NBA. The players and the owners both got billions of dollars at stake."
As for those who don't get it ... he didn't hold back on ripping them, by calling them "idiots and jackasses and fools."
"The NBA makes billions of dollars in China and that goes to the owners and the players," Barkley added. "So, it's a business decision, and I totally understand it."