Happy Birthday, Chuck: Charles Barkley's Most 'Shaqtin a Fool' Moments
Happy birthday, Charles Barkley! The NBA Hall of Famer and TNT personality turned 51 on Thursday.
To celebrate the Round Mound of Rebound's arrival on Earth on Feb. 20, 1963, we here at Bleacher Report have cobbled together a collection of his silliest and most embarrassing moments.
Not from his broadcast career, of course. That would be too easy. You don't have to search high and low to find instances of Sir Charles saying or doing something stupid on national television. That's just what happens when you put one of the biggest and loudest personalities in basketball history in front of a camera.
Instead, we decided to fire up the way-back machine (i.e., the Internet, especially YouTube) to find some of Chuck's least flattering outtakes from his playing days with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets.
Here's to 51 years of Barkley and many more happy, healthy and entertaining ones yet to come. There have been rumblings in the past about Barkley leaving TV to pursue other career paths, though he seems to be settled comfortable in his current role.
That is great news for basketball fans everywhere. Whether you agree with the Chuckster or not, there's no denying just how entertaining a figure he has been, is and hopefully will be for many more years.
Barkley vs. Laimbeer
Bill Laimbeer made his fair share of enemies during his days as a tough guy with the Bad Boys-era Detroit Pistons. Charles Barkley was certainly one of them.
In April 1990, during a Sixers win over the Pistons, Barkley came to the aide of Rick Mahorn, his teammate at the time. Mahorn, who won back-to-back titles with Detroit in the late 1980s, was fouled on the way to the hoop by Dennis Rodman and, after getting a faceful of leather from Laimbeer, started scuffling with his old club.
Naturally, Chuck backed up "McFilthy" with a series of awkward jabs—almost as awkward as his infamous golf swing.
Chicago Bulls Posterize Barkley
Charles was never one to back down from a challenge. That's part of what made him so great, despite being undersized for a power forward.
There were times, though, when he might have been better served by backing down, if only a bit. Case in point: when he was posterized not once, not twice but three times during a game between the Sixers and the Chicago Bulls.
First came Scottie Pippen's fast-break slam over Barkley, who arrived too late to help but just in time to get embarrassed. Then came Michael Jordan's quick turnaround on the baseline, which sent Chuck to the floor. Horace Grant rounded out the trifecta with a driving dunk of his own.
It's no wonder then that Barkley feuded with Pippen when the two were teammates with the Rockets during the lockout-shortened season. Apparently, the maturity of their rivalry never rose above "petty school yard."
Chuck vs. Angola
Charles Barkley arrived as an outspoken personality during his time with USA Basketball's Dream Team in 1992. He was arguably Team USA's top performer on and off the court during its run to the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Chuck's mouth became a matter of some interest prior to the Dream Team's historic matchup with an overmatched Angola squad. When asked about Angola prior to the game, most of Barkley's teammates kept their comments quiet, respectful and uncontroversial.
Sir Charles, on the other hand, didn't mince words, telling the media, via Reddit, "They're in a lot of trouble."
Which they were. Team USA went on to pummel their African competition, 116-48, and famously took pictures with their victims afterward. Fittingly enough, Barkley got involved in a physical altercation with one of the Angolan players before the final buzzer sounded.
Sir Charles at the Opera
Every modern NBA superstar worth his salt has at least one silly advertisement on his demo reel.
Charles Barkley is no exception. During his playing days, he battled Godzilla, hosted a talk show with Humpty Hump, rode horseback while hunting foxes and famously proclaimed that he wasn't a role model.
But never did Chuck look more ridiculous in a commercial than he did in 1993's "Barkley of Seville." Every moment of this 30-second spot is pure absurdity, from Barkley's dubbed opera singing and his feeble attempt at Italian to his felling of a referee and his one-on-one battle with a masked marauder for his Nike Air Max shoes.
As if the Barber of Seville send-up weren't ludicrous enough on its own, the spot ends with a stage full of costumed singers proclaiming Barkley to be "an angel of goodness."
Which probably isn't the way any of his opponents would've described him back in the day, to say the least.
Chuck and Oak Go at It...in the Preseason
To be sure, Chuck wasn't the only player of note from his era who was far from angelic—or even the only "Charles" who fit that description. Charles Oakley spent much of his 19-year NBA career intimidating friends and foes alike with his size, strength and sheer attitude.
He and Barkley never played together, though if the video above is any indication, that might have been for the best. The two came to blows on one occasion in 1996, after Oakley practically bodyslammed Barkley to keep him from scoring on a putback. Naturally, Barkley took offense and retaliated with some swings of his own.
Keep in mind, this came during a preseason game between Barkley's Rockets and Oakley's New York Knicks. If Chuck was this upset with the Oak Tree during a meaningless exhibition, imagine how much hotter his temper would've run had the results actually mattered.
Barkley Bounces Ball of Big Diesel
Barkley didn't always get along with Shaquille O'Neal as well as he does today. Then again, Chuck and Shaq didn't used to be co-workers.
Back in the '90s, Barkley unleashed his pugilistic tendencies on O'Neal during a game between the Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Barkley was fouled on the way to the hoop and subsequently had his shot blocked by O'Neal after the whistle. Shaq persisted in his pestering of Barkley, at which point Chuck launched the ball at O'Neal's noggin.
Evidently, Shaq took exception to that. He immediately charged at Barkley, at which point a skirmish ensued. Luckily, their teammates and the referees pulled the two apart.
But not before Barkley managed to get leverage under O'Neal's leg and wrestle the massive 7-footer to the floor. If UFC had been a major force in the sports world back then, you can bet Dana White would've reached out to Chuck about a post-NBA career in the Octagon.
Chuck Forgoes Retirement
If there's anything we've learned about Chuck from his prolific playing career and myriad product endorsements, it's that he doesn't mind a little extra moolah in his pocket.
And who could blame him? If you're a superstar-in-demand to the extent that Barkley has been for years, you would do well to capitalize on your value as a "brand" whenever and wherever possible.
In Barkley's case, money convinced him to continue on with his NBA career, even when basketball seemed to have passed him by. Being the outspoken guy that he was, is and will always be, Barkley admitted as much prior to the 1999-2000 season—his last as a pro.
"I remember sitting down with the Rockets and saying, 'Yeah. I'm going to retire,'" Barkley said, via Reddit. "They said, 'Well, we'll give you $9 million.' And I said, 'You got a pen on you?'"
Chuck-style capitalism at its finest.
Barkley Gets Bowled over by Shawn Bradley
Sir Charles has wound up on his fair share of posters, as we discussed earlier, but never did he look more feeble while protecting the paint than he did during this failed drive from Dallas Mavericks big man Shawn Bradley.
Chuck stepped in awkwardly to take a charge from the 7'6" stringbean of a man, only to wind up writhing in pain on the floor. Whether Bradley struck Barkley in a sensitive spot is unclear, although Chuck's reaction to the incident would suggest that he did.
In any case, he limped off the floor with the help of the Rockets training staff, becoming perhaps the first and only player in NBA history—and certainly the most decorated—to get knocked out of a game by Shawn Bradley.
Pot, Meet Kettle
The Chuckster was known to carry quite a bit of mass on his 6'6" frame during his playing days—even more so thereafter. That girth made him a force of nature on the court and earned him the nickname "The Round Mound of Rebound."
Barkley has shown a greater sensitivity toward his weight since he retired. He took offense when his weight became the subject of an office betting pool at Turner Sports. "That is starting to hurt my feelings," Chuck complained, via Reddit. "I don't mind skinny people making fun of me, we all do that, but I don't want fat people making fun of me."
He even went so far as to team up with Weight Watchers to trim his figure, though he later referred to his getting paid to drop pounds as "a scam."
If only Chuck had been so understanding of weight issues while he was in the NBA. During his time in Houston, he ripped into Rockets teammate Stanley Roberts, a 7-footer whose skyrocketing showings on the scale (he weighed upwards of 300 pounds at one point) drew the ire of Sir Charles.
Barkley was no role model when it came to health, although that didn't stop him from offering Roberts a stinging word of advice, via Reddit—"You could be a great player if you learned just two words: I'm full."
The Round Mound of Rebound on the "Secret" of His Success
Beyond his sheer mass, Barkley wouldn't have been known as "The Round Mound of Rebound" if not for his prodigious performance on the boards.
Few players were ever as proficient at picking up missed shots as Chuck was. He ranks 18th all time in total rebounds (12,546) and 19th in rebounds per game (11.7).
Barkley's secret? There was no secret, other than a deep desire to collect every carom he could. "I always laugh when people ask me about rebounding techniques," Barkley said of his glass-cleaning expertise, via Reddit. "I've got a technique. It's called 'just go get the damn ball.'"
And aren't we all glad he did?
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