Charles Wade Barkley is a former American professional basketball player who played for 16 seasons in the NBA.
Charles Barkley was born on February 20, 1963 in Leeds, Alabama. He played professionally in the NBA in the decades of 80 and 90. It is considered one of the best high eaves in league history. They called him ‘El Gordo’ for being overweight, but despite his small stature to fight with pivots, became top rebounder in the NBA in the 1986-87 season with the Philadelphia 76ers (with an average of 14.6 rebounds per game).
He was selected to the All-NBA Team five times, five times in the second and once in the third. In 1993 he was elected MPV of the season and in 1996 among the 50 best in NBA history. In 1992 and 1996 he participated in the Olympics with the US team, winning the gold medal on both occasions. Since 2006 it is part of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Since retiring from basketball, Barkley has been an NBA analyst for TNT television network in the ‘Inside the NBA’ program.
In his last year at the Leeds Institute he led his team to a 26-3 balance and to the state semifinals. Despite its game, no university was interested in him until that moment, match in which he scored 26 points before Bobby Lee Hurt, signing of the University of Alabama.
Barkley played with the Tigers during three seasons. Although he had often weight problems (he weighed 136 kilos), he had an outstanding career and led the league in rebounding every year. They gave him the nickname “The Round Mound of Rebound ‘for their physical and skills. In his career at Auburn, Barkley played as a power forward despite being considerably lower than rival their pivots. He received many awards, among which include the ‘Best Player of the Southeastern Conference in 1984’, being twice in the best quintet of the ESA and a selection in the third team All-American in 1984. He was also named player 80 SEC by the Birmingham Post-Herald. On March 30, 2001, his number 34 was officially retired by Auburn.
After his junior year in Auburn, Barkley decided to leave college and declared eligible for the NBA Draft 1984. He was selected in the fifth position by Philadelphia 76ers, two places behind Michael Jordan. Under the tutelage of Moses Malone, Barkley was able to control their weight problems and learned to prepare properly for a game. He averaged 14 points and 8.6 rebounds per night in his first season in the league, being chosen in the best quintet of rookies (novice in a profession). In his first postseason in NBA Barkley he scored 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.
The 1991-92 season was the last one of Barkley in 76ers and in her changed its number 34 by 32 in honor of Magic Johnson, professional player who announced his withdrawal to have contracted the AIDS virus. Although number 32 was retired by the franchise in honor of Billy Cunningham, he was returned to operation exclusively for Barkley. In his last season as a 76er, Barkley averaged 23.1 points, 55.2% shooting and 11.1 rebounds per game. He finished his career with the 76ers as the fourth highest scorer in franchise history with 14,184 points. During his eight seasons in Philadelphia, he became one of the most popular players in the NBA, having its own figure published by Kenner toy company and their own line of Nikes.
The transfer of the Phoenix Suns Barkley benefited both the player and his new team. He averaged 25.6 points, 52% shooting from the field, 12.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, leading the Suns to the best record in the NBA, 62-20. Barkley was named MVP of the season in his first year, besides disputing his seventh All-Star consecutive Game. The 95-96 season was the last of Barkley in the Suns. He led the team in scoring, rebounding and steals. He was traded to the Houston Rockets in 1996. It was his last attempt to get a championship ring.
In his last year in the NBA, his season and career culminated in the league prematurely after tearing the tendon in his left quadriceps. Refusing to that the injury was the last image in his career, Barkley returned in the last game of the regular season after four months off the court. On April 19, 2000 at home against the Vancouver Grizzlies, he scored his last basket after an offensive rebound, playing six minutes and getting two points, one rebound and one assist. After the basket, Barkley immediately retired and ended his career.
In 1992 he was part of the first team consisting of players from the NBA, sharing equipment with legend like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone. That combined was known as Dream Team, winning all six games of qualifying for the Olympics and all eight of the Argentine championship. The team averaged 117.3 points per game and won games with a lead of 43.8 points. Barkley led the team in scoring with 18 points per game, plus a 71.1% shooting from the field, and then getting the best scoring mark in a game with 30 points against Brazil. The victory was 127-83. He also broke the record of percentage of triples with 87.5%, captured 4,1 rebounds and stole 2.6 turnovers per game.
- He started playing off the bench for his ‘little’ height.
- In his last year at the Leeds Institute, he gave Lug achieving a place in the starting lineup. He averaged 19.1 points and 17.9 rebounds per game.
- He studied business at the University of Auburn, Alabama.
- He is the third player in history to become the first season MVP to be traded to a new team.