Charles Barkley dropped a vintage 31 points in the 1998-99 NBA season opener against Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Charles Barkley may be the butt of quite nearly every single quip on NBAonTNT nowadays but fans are quick to forget the ‘Round Mound of Rebound’ was one of the most dominant forces down-low in his heyday.
He was named the 19993 NBA regular season MVP, much to Michael Jordan’s chagrin and even led the Phoenix Suns to the Finals that same year.
Unfortunately for Chuck, the 1993 season would be the most success he would enjoy within the NBA as he would be battling to get to the promised land for the next 7 years.
After requesting a trade to the Houston Rockets a year after they repeated as NBA champions, a powerhouse fueled by Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon seemed to be on the horizon.
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Fast-forward three years to the 1999 NBA season opener against the Lakers and the Rockets hadn’t reached the Finals even once. With Chuck, Hakeem, and the newly acquired Scottie Pippen at the tail-ends of their prime, Houston was in win-now mode.
Charles Barkley dominated the Lakers in the 1999 season opener.
Even at 35 years of age, Charles Barkley looked like an offensive threat that needed to be doubled when he got down-low. Due to the lockout shortened season, the season opener for the 1998-99 season took place in February of ‘99.
Barkley’s Rockets faced off against Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers in an exciting encounter that provided a rollicking start to the season.
Charles Barkley most definitely turned back the clock and had a vintage, ‘bully-ball’ performance against the LakeShow. Though he wasn’t directly matched up against Shaq, he let no.43 in purple and gold know who the 1993 MVP was.
Despite having an all-around solid performance against the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant combined for 55 points to secure the 99-91 win. The two Western Conference ‘powerhouses’ would face off in the ‘99 Playoffs; a series that ended in a first round exit for the Lakers as they lost 3-1.