Charles Barkley: Career retrospective
Charles Barkley is known as much these days for the things he says, which are in equal parts, funny, outrageous, and baffling. Also, he’s a pretty lousy golfer. That being said, before he was a famous, beloved talking head on TV, the “Round Mound of Rebound” was one of the best players in the NBA. Chuck may not be your cup of tea on TV, but on the court he was dominant. He’s a look back at the career of Barkley, on and off the court.
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Stays in state for college
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You are well-versed in the 1992 Dream Team by this point, we assume. However, we have to mention it, because Barkley was one of the members of that iconic team. The Dream Team dominated, the United States won the gold medal, and Barkley got some fun quotes in there as well.
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Chuck is traded to Phoenix
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Speaking of Jordan, he and Barkley would end up on a collision course in the 1993 playoffs. The Bulls were trying to finish off a threepeat, while the Suns were in their first NBA Finals since 1976. Barkley did his best in the Finals, averaging 27.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. However, as you surely know, the Suns fells short, losing to the Bulls in seven games.
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“I am not a role model”
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Not everybody from the 1992 Dream Team returned for 1996, even though the games were taking place in Atlanta. Barkley did sign up for another Olympics run, though. The USA won another gold, naturally, and this time Barkley led the team in scoring and rebounding.
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Traded again, this time to Houston
While he was scoring less, over the next couple of seasons Barkley was still a double-double machine. In the 1999-2000 season, however, Barkley suffered a ruptured tendon in his quad that December. Many expected this to be the end of Barkley’s career. However, he refused to let his last game end with an injury. Chuck returned on April 19, 2000, to play in one more game. He got on the court, scored a basket, and was taken out of the game to a standing ovation. Barkley immediately retired on the spot.
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Begins iconic TV analyst career
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After retiring, Barkley signed on to be a TV analyst for TNT. That’s a job he still has, and a job that has made him arguably even more famous than he was as a player. He has been, needless to say, polarizing. Some love him and think he’s hilarious. He’s even won three Sports Emmys for Outstanding Studio Analyst. Others can’t stand him. Barkley doesn’t seem to care much and doesn’t pay attention to everything. He outwardly says he won’t watch some teams and as many former athletes rail fruitlessly against analytics and “jump-shooting teams.” There have also been controversial statements and off-color jokes. And yet, for two decades now he has been a staple of TNT’s NBA programming.
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Other media appearances
Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
Barkley has done more than merely being an analyst. He’s one of the NBA players who have his skills stolen by the Monstars in “Space Jam.” Barkley is also one of the athletes who has hosted “Saturday Night Live.” There have been multiple Barkley video games too. Oh, and since it doesn’t fit in anywhere else, he’s done some golfing at celebrity tournaments, mostly to show off his truly terrible golf swing.
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Hall of Fame induction
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Naturally, Barkley was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2006, an obvious choice. He’s also had his number retired by Auburn and Philadelphia, and Phoenix has inducted him in his ring of honor. Barkley also was included on the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team.
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A dominant rebounder, a forceful personality
Barkley was an undersized power forward in an era of massive brutes and giant bodies dominating the court. Despite that, he was able to average 11.7 rebounds per game in his career while winning one rebounding title. Barkley won one MVP, made five All-NBA First Teams, and 11 All-Star Games. When he retired, he was one of four NBA players with over 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists. He was a polarizing player when he was on the court and that’s been true off the court as well. He’s done a lot for charity and given people a lot of laughs. He once threw a man through a plate-glass window and got a DUI in 2008. Barkley, all in all, has always authentically been himself. That has served him well at times and not so well at others. In the end, he was a great player who has made arguably as big of a cultural impact as any athlete.