Charles Wade Barkley is one of the most popular, successful and beloved power forwards and rebounders in the National Basketball Association’s history. He spent his career as a player in three different teams, and has butted heads with some of the top tier players of his time. So, basketball fans stick around, as we look over the life and achievements of Mr. Barkley.
Charles Barkley was born in Alabama, in Leeds. He was the first black baby born in a recently de-segregated hospital and among the first students to enroll in what had previously been an all-white school.
From an early age, Charles Barkley stood tall over his playmates. In his first year attending Leeds High School, young Charles stood at 5 ft. 10 in. and he weighed 220 pounds. It was then that Charles Barkley first began playing basketball, and he developed a love and passion for the sport which would drive him towards the professionals.
Now that we’ve looked at some aspects of the personal life of Charles Barkley, let us take a look at his professional career. He began playing college basketball at Auburn, where he played for three seasons. In 1984, the young player was scouted by the Philadelphia 76ers, for whom he played for 8 years. During the 1984 Draft, he was picked 5th in the lineup, two spots after Michael Jordan.
Charles Barkley and Blackjack
Another thing that Charles Barkley shares with Michael Jordan, is their long-standing love of blackjack. Often times, Mr. Barkley has been seen in some of Las Vegas’ finest casinos, sipping drinks, talking to fans, and most importantly, sitting at the blackjack tables. Often times, fans have gone on trips to Las Vegas hoping to see the basketball star and maybe have a chat.
Thanks to the innovations of the late-20th and early 21st century, blackjack is no longer just a “casino thing”. Developments in gaming tech have made it possible for fans and players to play the game at online casinos, whenever they get a hankering for a round. We can’t say whether Barkley is a fan of online blackjack, however, the practice has certainly been growing in popularity in the past few years.
The NBA Years
During his time with the 76ers, Barkley played with legendary players Julius Erving, Moses Malone and Maurice Cheeks. He stood out thanks to his aggressive playstyle and incredible strength, which made him, not just an excellent power forward, but one of the best rebounders in the sport.
In 1992, Charles Barkley was transferred to the Phoenix Suns, with whom he played for 4 years. During his time with the Suns, he reached the apex of his career. He earned the All-NBA and All-Star honors in each of the four seasons in which he participated.
Lastly, in 1996, he joined the Houston Rockets. For them, he played the last four years of his career. Upon retiring, Charles Barkley has teamed up with broadcasting network TNT, for whom he works as a sports analyst.
Certainly one of the greatest players of all time, Charles Barkley’s career was not sparkling clean. He is remembered for his skill above all else. However, there are also two incidents that can’t go unmentioned.
Through the course of his career, Charles Barkley has been embroiled in quite a few controversies. During a game against the New Jersey Nets in 1991, Mr. Barkley got a little bit to heated. A fan of the Nets had been heckling him throughout the game. Barkley’s response was to spit on the fan. However, he missed his target and spat on a young girl, who had attended the game with her family.
Barkley considers this the lowest point in his career. At the time, he did everything he could to make things right, including a public and private apology to the family, as well as supplying them with tickets for any future games. Reportedly, the family and Barkley became friends, and presumably remain friends to this day.
A far more well-known example of a controversy was the so-called “role model controversy”. During his time playing for the Phoenix Suns, Barkley claimed that athletes should not be role models. His statements prompted national outrage, and even elected officials spoke out. For his part, Barkley remained staunch in his beliefs, and presumably he still holds them to this day.