Charles Barkley was a riot to play against. He’s one of the guys who always had fun out there, yet because of his tremendous talent he could dominate a game at both ends of the floor. Given the fact that he was only about 6’4” and weighed in at an impressive 250 pounds, he gave all of us big guys fits because of his quick leaping ability and great instincts for the ball. Because of his seemingly arrogant personality, Charles didn’t get the respect due to him consistently throughout his career. But he definitely goes down as one of the all-time greats!
Charles is one of only two guys I can ever remember actually dunking on me, in which I challenged the shot with everything I had, yet I still got dunked on. Actually, I don’t feel too bad, because he dunked on the whole team!
This is how it played out. Charles was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers and I was playing with the San Diego Clippers. Charles was running the ball down the court at full speed and he essentially took off from the foul line. He flew right by our point guard, Norm Nixon, and then he went by our shooting guard, Derek Smith. He kept right on coming past our small forward, Greg Kelser, and then past our power forward, Terry Cummings. He wasn’t just going by them – he was going up and over them. I saw all this play out as if in slow motion and by the time I reacted to what was going on, Charles was already halfway down the lane and past three of our guys. I jumped with all I could to challenge his shot as the last line of defense before the basket, but Charles just kept rising up and over me too and threw the ball down to the basket with such terrific force that it just brought the house down. If it wasn’t such a “fantastic moment,” it probably would’ve been one of the most embarrassing moments for me on the basketball court.
When you play against the best as in a great player like Charles, you can’t help but admire some of the things they can do on the basketball court. Besides, it’s what the fans come to see!
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