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Appreciating The Greatness Of Charles Barkley

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To the younger generation he is the bald, loud guy on TNT constantly trading insults with Shaquille O’Neal but to the fans that watched him, he might be the best that ever played the position. Let me explain.

When top PFs are mentioned people tend to place Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett and maybe Kevin McHale over him but those are the ones that only pay attention to rings and not what he accomplished on the court.

To begin with let’s address the elephant in the room. NO he has never won a championship, and maybe that knocks him down a peg but Karl Malone is viewed as the 2nd best and he has no rings either. Maybe people believe he didn’t want it enough as Scottie Pippen has gone on record as saying that’s what Michael Jordan told him before he and Barkley became teammates in Houston.


That is nonsense and I’m not jumping to his defense because I was born and raised in Philly but because I was able to see Barkley in his prime. I saw the hunger he had when he came in as a rookie on a team that featured Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone and Julius Erving. That team was fresh off a championship and full of veterans and he played his role to a tee while learning first hand from Malone and Erving what type of player the City of Brotherly Love wanted.

They needed a hustler…

Barkley was all of that and more when he finally took the throne from Erving and Malone. Mind you he was still considered the 3rd wheel but in his second season in 1985 he averaged 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assist and 2 steals. Yes he was that good at the age of 23. Now read back from the left and let me now if anything or things should happen to stand out. Did you see it? Maybe you’re a bit confused so let me break something down to you. 13 REBOUNDS per on a team that featured Malone. To make the numbers even more staggering is that Barkley, without shoes on stands about as tall as the average NBA PG. He was favorably listed at 6′-6″, but he stood at 6′-4″. Name another player that size that averaged anywhere close to 6 boards a game. This is something he done his WHOLE career but yet Malone (Karl), Garnett and Nowitzki are listed above him on mos PF list.

Barkley never guided the Sixers to the NBA Finals as there was always a piece to the puzzle missing from the team but the organization felt it was time for a youth movement in 1992 and off to Phoenix he went.


In Phoenix, his first year at that he took the Suns to the NBA Finals where they would lose to Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 4-2 but Barkley made sure the NBA and the Sixers knew that he was serious about being a leader. Barkley won league MVP that year with averages of 26 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assist. During that Finals run he torched the Bulls for 27/13/6… But yet they say he didn’t have the drive to win.


When his days in Phoenix was over he headed to Houston where he would team up with Hakeem Olajuwon, and Pippen but they were not able to get that ring as a unit. Barkley retired from the NBA in 1999 with career averages of 22/12. Great numbers but even better when you consider he did that with PG height.

I’m not here to knock the career of Malone (Karl) but let’s put their averages together.

Malone- 25 ppg- Barkley- 22 ppg

Malone- 10 reb.- Barkley- 12 reb.

Malone- 52% FG- Barkley- 54%

Yes Malone may have scored more points than Barkley but all-around game that edge has to go to Sir Charles.

Before him we have never seen anything like his style and we still haven’t seen anything like him. When players like LeBron James, with Barkley’s hesitate to play in the post then you know how much the game has changed and why yesterday’s players don’t respect today’s current crop.

For all the off-the-sleeve remarks that he may make about anyone, no matter how the public views them he is who he is and has never changed to gain acceptance.

The reason you hate Barkley is the same reason we love him.



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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com