Charles Barkley is a retired NBA player, who was part of the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team.” In 1996, he was named one of the league’s 50 greatest players. Charles was a college star, who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st round of the 1984 NBA draft. In 1992, Barkley joined the U.S. Olympic team, helping the “Dream Team” won the gold medal. He was not only famous for his talent but also for his courtside antics and personality.


Charles Wade Barkley was born on 20 February 1963, in Leeds, Alabama. He was widely known as one of the best forwards ever to play in the NBA. Notwithstanding his size—at only 6’4″ tall—Barkley was an overwhelming presence all through his NBA career. He’s one of just four players in league history to score at least 20,000 points, collect 10,000 rebounds and hand out 4,000 assists.

Leeds High School Yearbook from 1981.
Credit: Rob Culpepper

Initially, Barkley was not on the radar screen of various college scouts. But in his final year at Leeds High School, he started to knock some people’s socks off. Having grown six inches in only 12 months, Barkley averaged 17.9 rebounds and 19.1 points per game that year and drove the school to a 26-3 record.

Barkley wowed college scouts, in the conference semifinal, by scoring 26 points against Alabama’s top player. This led Barkley to Auburn University in the fall of 1981.  Through the span of his three-year career at the school, Barkley earned a few honors, such as ALL-SEC player (Three times), Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1984 and was named to Auburn’s All-Century team.

Barkley during his High School Years. Source: ESPN

Subsequent his junior season, Barkley proclaimed he was ready to play the profesional season. In the spring of 1984, the Philadelphia 76ers selected him as its power forward with the fifth overall selection in the NBA draft.

NBA Career

The 76ers were just a year to be expelled from an NBA title and stocked with a veteran roster that included Julius Erving and Moses Malone. He averaged 14.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during the regular season and earned a berth on the All-Rookie Team. That year, the 76ers advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the team was defeated by the Boston Celtics and Larry Bird.

Charles Barkley and Karl Malone Source: NBA

The success of that season demonstrated to the most the club achieved during Barkley’s sometimes turbulent eight years in Philadelphia. Right off the bat, particularly, Barkley was difficult to play with and was notoriously criticized by his teammates because of conflicting play and temper tantrums.

But he made his mark during the 1987-1988 season when he was named to the All-NBA team for the first of four consecutive years. In 1992, Barkley joined the U.S. “Dream Team” at the Olympics. After helping the team win the gold medal, he was sent to the Phoenix Suns where he won the MVP award and led the club to the 1993 NBA finals. In the championship round, the Suns were defeated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

Charles Barkley with Suns’ Jersey Source: NBA

Sir Charles has become one of the NBA’s most visible players due as much to his talent as to his courtside antics. He was criticized in March 1991 for “spitting” at a child and later explained that he’d meant to hit a fan who was taunting him with racial epithets. Despite a share of negative publicity, his outgoing personality also earned him numerous commercial endorsements.

His Retirement and Post-NBA Life

During a pre-season drill in October 1993, Barkley collapsed when his legs went numb. Though tests revealed a back injury, he announced a few days later that he would retire after the 1993-94 season. However, he decided to play after all, and in 1996, he was traded to the Houston Rockets and named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players in a ceremony marking the league’s 50th anniversary.

Charles Barkley host a new TNT show. Source: USA Today

After retiring from the NBA, Barkley signed on to do a talk show on TNT in 2003 called Listen Up!. He currently works for the network as a studio analyst for Inside the NBA. His book, “I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It,” was published in 2002. Following that, he published Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man? in 2005. Barkley has also dabbled in politics and over the years has publicly considered running for Alabama governor numerous times.

Personal Life

Barkley married his longtime girlfriend Maureen Blumhardt in 1989. The couple has a daughter, Christiana, born the same year. A DNA test read by George Lopez on Lopez Tonight revealed Charles Barkley to be of 14% Native American, 11% European and 75% African descent.

Barkley’s Family
Source: Instagram

In August 2015, Barkley announced support for John Kasich in the 2016 presidential election. As of 2016, his net worth is estimated to be $30 million dollars.