doesn’t get as much pub as his good friend, Michael Jordan, but Charles Barkley is 50 years old today. Happy Birthday, Charles!
Charles had a great (hall-of-fame) career that encompassed three teams and 16 years. He spent the first half of his career in Philadelphia before he got traded to Phoenix, where he won the Most Valuable Player award in 1993. He took the Suns to the NBA Finals that same year but lost in six games to Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. He would never get back to the Finals in his career again.
After four years with the Suns, he formed a formidable trio with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. But in the 1996-97 season, he was victimized by a John Stockton buzzer-beater in the Western Conference Finals. That sent the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals and that would be the closest he would ever get to the Finals after his 1993 trip.
But what made Barkley so endearing was that he never met a microphone he didn’t like. He would always say some controversial yet some funny things when he’s being interviewed. After he retired in 2000, he would parlay it into a broadcasting career with Turner Sports. In some ways, he will be even remembered more for his broadcasting career than his playing career.
Inside The NBA with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Barkley has become the best sports studio show today, and that engine wouldn’t go without Barkley’s humor. He is the butt of a lot of jokes by the others but he’s been such a great sport throughout. Barkley claimed he was only going to dabble in it for a few years but here they are doing it in their 13th straight season.
To those that have forgotten Charles Barkley’s playing career, here’s one of the many YouTube mixes of Chuck. Even though he was a big individual, his agility and athleticism was awesome. He averaged 11.7 rebounds in his career. While he’s listed at 6’6″, he was closer to 6’4″. To get that many rebounds for his height is remarkable.
Happy Birthday to the individual known as the Round Mound of Rebound.