Charles Barkley may be an award-winning sportscaster today, but most basketball fans remember him for his Hall of Fame career.
Charles Barkley holds a unique record – at 6’5″ barefoot, he’s the shortest player to lead the NBA in rebounding. The Chuckster was drafted 5th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the legendary 1984 NBA Draft class.
Chuck didn’t really want to go to Philly and had actively tried ducking them in the draft by putting on weight ahead of his draft. However, he’d displayed too much dominance during his Auburn career for Philly to pass him up.
Barkley had the best all-around game for any player at the power forward position up until that time. The Chuckster was able to handle the ball and facilitate with gusto – especially in transition.
Above all, he had an uncanny ability to understand rebounding angles, and his lower center of gravity helped him gain position faster and more securely than bigger, plodding players.
Barkley built his legend in Philadelphia, but he was never really surrounded by championship-caliber talent. The likes of Detroit, Boston and later on, Chicago were constantly in the way of his Sixers squads.
Draymond Green narrates third-hand a Joe Dumars story about Charles Barkley
The Round Mound of Rebound was named no. 22 on a list of top-75 players ever, compiled by The Athletic. In an interview segment for their article on Chuck, Draymond Green narrated a story that illustrates just how dominant Barkley was in his prime:
“You know a funny story Joe Dumars once told me about Barkley? Joe D said, ‘I never used to dunk the ball. That wasn’t me. I never used to dunk the ball.”
“But one day, we were playing Barkley.’ I think Barkley was still in Philly. He said, ‘I caught the ball in the paint, went up to dunk it. Barkley came out of nowhere and all I heard was: Give me that shit, Joe! That was my last time trying to dunk in traffic.’”
This anecdote just serves to show just how good the Chuckster could be on defense when he really expended effort on that end.