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Charles Barkley

Dominant Rebounder

In Philadelphia, Barkley joined established stars Julius Erving and Moses Malone. He did well in his first season, averaging fourteen points and 8.6 rebounds per game. During the next two seasons, he evolved into a starter for Philadelphia and became the shortest player to lead the NBA in rebounding. In 1987 Barkley was named to the All Star team for the first time. Some analysts have connected Barkley's playing success with his unusual physique, saying that he was able block with his wide body and outrun bigger opponents. Barkley, however, credits his success to his greater competitiveness and emotion on the court.

Emotion, however, would sometimes get Barkley in trouble. He began to complain about his teammates, whom he lumped together as "a bad team that has to play perfect to win." The comment resulted in a $3,000 fine. During the 1991-1992 season, Barkley tried to spit on a heckler who sat court-side, but missed and hit a little girl. He apologized to the girl and gifted her family with season tickets, and was fined again. That same year, he was arrested for punching a man in Milwaukee, but was acquitted when a jury decided that the other man had started the fight. Amidst media coverage of such events, Barkley was chastised for not serving as a better role model for children. He responded that playing basketball well does not automatically make someone a hero. Felons and drug addicts can dunk, he pointed out. His own heroes were his mother and grandmother, whom he credited with showing him how to work hard.

Barkley continued to improve his game, but the Philadelphia team often struggled. In 1989 former Detroit Piston "Bad Boy" Rick Mahorn joined the 76ers and became part of a "Bump and Thump" partnership with Barkley. They helped the 76ers win the Atlantic division title, but the team lost to the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in the second round of the finals. When Barkley missed fifteen games in 1990-1991 season, the team fizzled and missed the playoffs.

In 1992 Barkley was named to the "Dream Team" representing the United States in the Olympics, when the rules were changed to allow professional players. At the competition in Barcelona, Spain, he led the U.S. team in scoring but was also a source of embarrassment when he elbowed a thin player from Angola and then threatened to boycott the awards ceremony. Along with Michael Jordan, he objected to wearing uniforms made by Reebok when he was a paid spokesman for Nike.


1963 Born February 20 in Leeds, Alabama
1981-84 Stars in basketball at Auburn University
1984 Cut during U.S. Olympic basketball team trials
1984 Selected fifth in the NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers
1989 Marries Maureen Blumhardt
1989 Daughter Christiana born
1992 Selected for the first Olympic "Dream Team"
1992 Traded to the Phoenix Suns
1993 Awarded NBA Most Valuable Player Award
1996 Traded to the Houston Rockets
1996 Selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history
1996 Appears in motion picture Space Jam
2000 Retires from professional basketball
2000 Joins cast of TNT's Inside the NBA

Awards and Accomplishments

All-NBA first team 1987-88 to 1990-91, 1992-93; second team 1985-86, 1986-87, 1991-92, 1993-94, 1994-95; third team 1995-96
1983-84 Named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year
1985 Named to NBA All-Rookie Team
1987-88 First year named as NBA All Star
1992, 1996 Member U.S. Olympic team
1992 Named NBA Most Valuable Player
1996 Named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history
1999 Achieved 12,000th career rebound, 23,000th career point, and 4,000th career assist

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBasketballCharles Barkley Biography - Growing Up, Dominant Rebounder, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Heads To Phoenix, Reluctantly Retires