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I am not a role model?
February 21, 2011 8:01 AM   Subscribe

American basketball icon Charles Barkley turned 48 yesterday to a certain amount of televised fanfare. For those who have followed the ups and downs of the round mound of rebound over the past 25 years, his staying power has been impressive. The author of four books has even recently launched his own website. From a quixotic attempt at a political career to a golf reality show to his current role as an NBA analyst, Barkley’s on-camera life has been far from boring. And while many of his Dream Team peers are fading into middle age, Barkley’s image and popularity have continued to improve, despite his best efforts off-camera to the contrary. From a shout out by the President to a serenade by Stevie Wonder, does everybody now love Sir Charles?
posted by unintelligentlydesigned (41 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the best things I've ever sen was Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah for Jordan's birthday. Jordan is mythologized, but seeing him sitting there like a rock next to such a funny, outgoing, hilarious, energetic personality like Barkley, you immediately could see that comparatively Jordan is a cold robot. I'd take Barkley any day over Jordan. And the two are best friends.
posted by spicynuts at 8:04 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I think of when I think of Charles Barkley
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:09 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The first time I ever saw him he was giving a mumbled interview while staring at the floor. How did he turn into this guy who will just not shut up?
posted by fixedgear at 8:09 AM on February 21, 2011


CHAAAAAOOOOOOOS DUNK
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:09 AM on February 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


"My family got all over me because they said Bush is only for the rich people. Then I reminded them, 'Hey, I'm rich'." -C. Barkley
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:11 AM on February 21, 2011


God I love Charles Barkley, but bummer he's on Leno instead of a better comedy show. Browsing the clips on his site, Leno's attempts at humor fall really flat while Charles seems more natural than Jay at doing comedy bits.
posted by mathowie at 8:13 AM on February 21, 2011


My favorite Barkley moment was a clip I saw during the 1992 Summer Olympics. Barkley was walking behind Jordan while swilling a bottle of Gatorade. Satirizing Gatorade's then-current Jordan-based marketing jingle, Barkley sang right into Jordan ear "Ooh, I wanna be, , I wanna be, I wanna beee like CHUCK!" Completely out of character, Michael Jordan cracked a spontaneous smile.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:15 AM on February 21, 2011


In 1986-87 Barkley averaged 23pts and 14.6 rebounds a game, with a rebound % of 16.7. That is really good. What is crazy is that the active player the highest on the rebound list (Kevin Love, 15.48 a game) is 97th on the list. Crazier still is that spots 1-20 consist only of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, and they are all 20+ rebounds a game. I'm not an expert on NBA playbook history, but it is just impossible for I imagine a lot of reasons to average anything close to that today. That Barkley got that many so recently is impressive. Thought not as impressive as 91-92 Rodman with 18.66 a game, the highest after the 1980s!
posted by Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon at 8:15 AM on February 21, 2011


I've always loved Sir Charles, ever since the Suns/Bull playoffs in the early 90s. I was a giant Jordan fan, obviously, but ended up rooting for him because he was just tenacious and all big-ass hustle, probably the best a chubby 6ftNothing kid like myself could aspire to on the court. I've modeled my 'game' on his ever since.

Other reasons to love chaz:
After decades of making fun of him, the other night he picked Allen Iverson #1 in the All Star Weekend fantasy draft. Massive lulz.
He claims he's lost 10 million dollars in Vegas. Balla.
He is one of the few unvarnished honest voices in Sports or any kind of Broadcasting. He wouldn't know how to spin something even if he cared enough to try.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:17 AM on February 21, 2011


My favorite Barkley commercial. Anything less....
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:22 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]



He is one of the few unvarnished honest voices in Sports or any kind of Broadcasting. He wouldn't know how to spin something even if he cared enough to try.


Amen. Let's get him on the No Spin Zone. Not that I watch it. And he's pretty hard core Repub. Nevermind.
posted by spicynuts at 8:29 AM on February 21, 2011


Throwin' 'bows to the jaws to the nose . . . Who do you think was more psyched? Chuck D or Sir Charles?

There's a family story that my grandmother ran into him as a newly-signed Sixer in an elevator at U of P Hospital, and that he was puzzled and bemused by this tiny old white lady admonishing him to keep his head and pay attention to his elders if he ever wanted to be anything in the NBA.
posted by whuppy at 8:32 AM on February 21, 2011


"You know, people try to make it about black and white. He talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now—people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexuality people. They are great people.”

I chuckled at "the homosexuality people" when I saw that live, as he was obviously grasping for a word his brain couldn't find, but the man doesn't dance around stuff with generic feelgood boilerplate bullshit like so many sportscasters. He was also probably the greatest player to have had the misfortune to play in the league at the sam time as Michael Jordan.

I've also really enjoyed watching him trying to avoid backtracking his "San Antonio isn't even the best team in Texas, and I guarantee Dallas will be ahead of them in the standings by this time next week" remark.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:34 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personality aside, I love that he showed my generation that rebounding is as much a key to the game as scoring. When you're on defense and you force a missed shot, it doesn't mean anything if they beat you to the ball; it might as well be a turnover on your part. When you miss a shot on offense, but then pick up the rebound, it means the other team has to play defense all over again, if they're lucky. I say lucky because offensive rebounds are often nabbed by the hoop and lead to an easy layup. Barkley helped a lot of us playground hacks learn to box out and play a better game, and when you're cleaning the boards you're a lot more likely to win.
posted by azpenguin at 8:46 AM on February 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


"My family got all over me because they said Bush is only for the rich people. Then I reminded them, 'Hey, I'm rich'." -C. Barkley

He voted for Bush? That's turrble!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:03 AM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jordan is mythologized, but seeing him sitting there like a rock next to such a funny, outgoing, hilarious, energetic personality like Barkley, you immediately could see that comparatively Jordan is a cold robot. I'd take Barkley any day over Jordan. And the two are best friends.

Jordan's pretty much admitted that Barkley says what he (Jordan) only thinks. Jordan carefully managed his image to make really ridiculous amount of money, but I'm sure he's a whole lot different when it's just him and Charles.
posted by callmejay at 9:10 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jordan's pretty much admitted that Barkley says what he (Jordan) only thinks. Jordan carefully managed his image to make really ridiculous amount of money, but I'm sure he's a whole lot different when it's just him and Charles.

Exactly - and Tiger Woods had very successfully used the Jordan model until everything blew up for him. I'd be really interested to see Jordan in private, because I really doubt it bears any resemblance to his public persona.
posted by alaijmw at 9:12 AM on February 21, 2011


Gotta love a guy who admitted in an interview that he hadn't read his own autobiography.

I was Barkley's waiter one night. He was a good tipper who, after the meal, went out of his way to shake hands with everyone in the kitchen from the owner and chef to the dishwashers. Class act.

I'd vote for him for governor of Alabama if he ran. Why not? He's got enough money to be practically unbribeable and he can't possibly be any worse than some of the knuckleheads we've elected.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


CHAAAAAOOOOOOOS DUNK

I am favoriteing this as hard as I can
posted by fusinski at 9:15 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Charles Barkley. He and Kenny Smith manage to make their show funny and insightful every time out, which is really a rare feat in sports broadcasting these days.

I mean, compare those guys to baseball (old curmudgeons calling white players "gritty", black players "athletic" and latin players "eloquent"); football (blowhard ex-players hoping the noise they make yelling at each other will make the public ignore the concussion issue); and hockey (Don Cherry).

Guys like Kenny and Charles, along with Chris Webber and Hubie Brown (to name two) are really making the NBA worth watching on TV these days.
posted by auto-correct at 9:25 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I think of Charles Barkley, I think of donkey basketball fundamentals.
posted by drezdn at 10:07 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chaos Dunk is right. I like to imagine that Sir Charles is as big a fan of Tales of Game's Studios Presents Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa as I am.
posted by fartron at 10:12 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"He was also probably the greatest player to have had the misfortune to play in the league at the sam time as Michael Jordan. "

No, that would be John Stockton.
posted by oddman at 10:18 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jordan's pretty much admitted that Barkley says what he (Jordan) only thinks. Jordan carefully managed his image to make really ridiculous amount of money, but I'm sure he's a whole lot different when it's just him and Charles.

I've noticed the certain Tom Cruise like qualities in Jordan as well...kinda a robot. Even when he was on SNL and I was in 7th grade, I could tell something wierd was up.

But to say something like that is kinda stupid...totally unlike me. I can admit that Einstein pretty much says stuff I only think. That asshole, stealing my thoughts.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:20 AM on February 21, 2011


Barkley vs Bavetta

Charles as Ron Burgundy

Charles as President Bush

The famous Role Model commercial

Ooh, I wanna be, , I wanna be, I wanna beee like CHUCK!
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:23 AM on February 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree the guys says it as it is. 48 already time is flying.
posted by HGH at 10:30 AM on February 21, 2011


No, that would be John Stockton.

Oh, wow, no shit - forgot about him (I wasn't a huge basketball watcher back then.)
John Stockton averaged a career double-double, with 13.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. He holds the NBA's record for most career assists (15,806) by a margin of more than 4,000, as well as the record for most career steals (3,265).
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:32 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't know how I missed the Role Model commercial in the first link.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:35 AM on February 21, 2011


My best friend grew up in/around Memorial Gym at Vanderbilt and always had seats behind the visitor's bench. He often tells the story of watching Barkley on the bench eating GooGoo Clusters during time outs when Auburn came to town. Round Mound of Rebound indeed.
posted by rhythim at 10:37 AM on February 21, 2011


'...you immediately could see that comparatively Jordan is a cold robot. I'd take Barkley any day over Jordan.'

No. You take Jordan the day you want to win a basketball game & Barkley for TV appearances, happy fun times & eating contests &c.
posted by i_cola at 10:46 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a good parody of that role model commerical from the movie Celtic Pride.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 10:46 AM on February 21, 2011


Glad to find out that there are so many fellow Barkley-admirers on the blue.

I started following his career at Auburn when I myself was a young baller, and he used to tell a story about how he was able to jump so high, despite his portly frame.

He said that growing up, he used to go out into the corn fields once they began to sprout and he'd jump over the little stalks every day. As the year wore on and the stalks got higher, every day he challenged himself to jump that little bit higher, until by the end of the summer he was able to clear the highest stalk. That may have been a stretch, but as a boy, I found that incredibly inspiring, and he's been my role model ever since.

Now, as a coach, I've got my players doing "Barkley drills", one of which consists of picking up a ball off of one block, jumping up and tapping the backboard, coming back down with the ball, then immediately powering up again to lay it in (he, of course, would dunk it, but I'm dealing with high schoolers). I tell the boys that if they keep at it, by their senior year, they just may be dunking it too.
posted by unintelligentlydesigned at 10:52 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guys like Kenny and Charles, along with Chris Webber and Hubie Brown (to name two) are really making the NBA worth watching on TV these days.

Huh, I was thinking guys like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo. I didn't know the NBA is what happens between basketball.

No, that would be John Stockton.

Or Karl Malone, or Isaiah Thomas, or Patrick Ewing, or David Robinson, or at least 15 other players who were on their way out (Bird, Magic) or on their way in (Duncan, O'Neal, Bryant).
posted by clearly at 11:05 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't say that Duncan or Bryant have suffered by virtue of being overshadowed by Jordan. They've got their rings, and have both been able to stand at the top of the heap in the prime of their careers.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:22 AM on February 21, 2011


"Jordan is a cold robot"
Charles never had Dean Smith for a coach, nor Michael's parents who undoubtedly advised him to behave in public. Have you never heard the story of the woman with a bucket of quarters in the elevator?
posted by Cranberry at 11:36 AM on February 21, 2011


the woman with a bucket of quarters in the elevator

erm...
posted by dersins at 11:56 AM on February 21, 2011


My dad once had Charles Barkley land in his lap when he had courtside seats for the Rockets. He said Barkley had the widest ass he'd ever seen. And that's what I think of when I think of Charles Barkley. Huge freaking ass.


(Class disclaimer: My parents didn't regularly sit courtside. They got the tickets free from Mattress Mac because my brother worked at Gallery Furniture.)
posted by threeturtles at 12:42 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously isn't it common knowledge that MJ is a borderline sociopath in real life?
posted by JPD at 2:50 PM on February 21, 2011


The old chestnut 50 Greatest Barkley Quotes
posted by JPD at 2:59 PM on February 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


auto-correct, I'd add Jeff Van Gundy to that list, except that he seems to be stuck with Mark Jackson. JVG offers pretty fantastic insight into the game along with brutal honesty/snark. It's almost like someone combined MST3K with Bill Nye, but focused all of those awesome powers into basketball.

And yeah, Jordan is firmly in control of his image, as boring as it makes him seem. His comment 'Republicans buy shoes too' showed his committment to avoiding any issue that would get in the way of his brand. And, off course, as mentioned, there's the obsession with winning/borderline sociopath thing (refusing to let the team bus leave practice until he finally beat Rip Hamilton in a shooting contest, destroying 18 year old Kwame Brown mentally, the list is endless).

So yeah, Jordan for the game-winning shot, Barkley for a good night out of drinking.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:28 PM on February 21, 2011


What I remember about Sir Charles is how he just about single handedly put away the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs that golden year Chris Webber was a rookie and looking like someone was finally going to lead the Warriors to the next level. Then, of course, it all fell apart.
posted by emmet at 6:39 PM on February 21, 2011


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