Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984, Charles Barkley wasn’t the prototypical Power Forward. at 6’6″, he wasn’t the average height for his position. At 250 lbs., he wasn’t the leanest or the most muscular as well. However, there was no denying Barkley was a great basketball player. Whether you called him too short or too round, he proved he could get buckets and grab rebounds with the best of them. During his eight years in Philly, Barkley made six All-Star teams and seven All-NBA squads. However, Barkley and the 76ers parted ways in 1992 as he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. A new team was all Barkley needed to make his case as one of the best to play in the NBA.
Barkley, Suns Scorch The West
The 1992-93 NBA season saw the Phoenix Suns, a yearly contender in the Western Conference, finally be the team to beat. The Suns were the best team in the league that year, going 62-20, tops in both conferences. After falling 0-2 in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Suns stormed back to win the best of five series against the Los Angeles Lakers, winning the last three. They dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in six in the second round and in the Western Conference finals, they defeated the Seattle Supersonics with a game seven victory.
For Barkley, the first season in Phoenix was everything the he and the Suns hoped for. He averaged 25.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, securing his first ever NBA MVP award. He had a marvelous season statistically. Barkley had 25 games of 30 or more points, which included a season high 44 points to go with 17 boards in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He had 55 double-doubles as well, and against the Minnesota Timberwolves he grabbed a season high 24 rebounds with 35 points in the road win. Along with the NBA MVP, he was selected to the All-Star game and earned First Team All-NBA honors.
Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals
The NBA had one of the best marquee Finals matchups of the 1990s. It was Charles Barkley leading the Suns against Michael Jordan and the juggernaut Bulls. Two superstar powers at the peak of their careers. The Suns had the tall task of trying to stop the Bulls from three-peating as NBA champs.
Barkley did his best to derail Jordan and the Bulls. He had some most games, such as the 42 point, 21 rebound effort in a Game 2 loss. In Game 3, Barkley had his signature moment of the series. Suns down 2-0, Barkley made key offensive and defensive plays late in the game. He would score 24 points and grab 19 rebounds in the game while battling injury and playing over 50 minutes. The two biggest points of the game came on Barkley’s steal of an outlet pass and put back late in the third OT. That critical play took the wind out of the Windy City and led to a much needed 129-121 Suns road victory in triple OT. However the celebration was short lived as the Bulls would win two of the next 3 games and close out the series in six. The Suns may have came up short in the end, but for the Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, it was still a sensational season.