Jamal Mashburn heaped some rich praise on Charles Barkley during his appearance on the Knuckleheads Podcast last week.
‘Who was the first person to bust yo a** in the league?’ Darius Miles has made it the default question that Q&D start their podcast off with. Jamal Mashburn obliged willingly with his account of one of the league’s greats:
“The first person that ‘got’ me was Charles Barkley. I didn’t expect much, you what I mean? But a lot of people don’t realize that if you took Michael Jordan out of the league, Charles Barkley might’ve been the best player.”
”We need a lot more former players involved in ownership. And not just majority, and not just the ones with big brands.”
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 4, 2021
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“A lot of people forget about him once they see him on TV and everything like that. But he was a beast, you know. He could run for days – he was very athletic, agile, handled the ball.”
“6’4″, 6’5″, powerful, and he used to joke with me all the time. And when he would guard me and stuff like that he would tell me to stop dribbling the ball because he didn’t like forwards handling the ball like that.”
“So I would say Charles Barkley was the guy that gave me the business and made me reevaluate my position in the league. And then also, he’s also one of 3 guys – Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and Hakeem Olajuwon – who I’ve got autographs from.”
The legacy of Charles Barkley as a player at the forward spot
Barkley was neither the first nor the last undersized frontcourt player to become an NBA superstar. However, he definitely changed the archetype for the power forward position, allowing the likes of Kevin Garnett to grow into more complete players.
Chuck played 16 years in the NBA, and he was an MVP contender for at least 7-8 of those. He’s easily a top-5 player of all time to never have won a championship.
Barkley was also the most efficient scoring superstar of the league at his prime. It’s a real pity that he didn’t have better teams around him during the years of his second contract in Philly.