Charles Barkley is an American former basketball player, actor and sports’ analyst and commentator, born on 20 February 1963 in Leeds, Alabama. He’s best known for his successful career as a basketball player.
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Charles Wade Barkly was the only child resulting from the marriage of Charcey and Frank Barkley. Charles’ parents separated when he was still a baby, when his father left his family behind to move to California. Now a single mother, Charcey had to work cleaning houses to sustain her child.
Charles attended a local school in Leeds, though his time wasn’t easy as he was one of the first black kids to study there. In a report by ESPN, Charles’ mother recalled her son had to be escorted by his grandmother to school, as the building was always crowded by people who menacingly waited for the black kids.
When Charles was still in primary school, his mother Charcey found love again with a man named Clee Glenn, whom she married not long after meeting him. The couple welcomed two sons together named Darryl and John, although the family living in a small one-bedroomed apartment. Unfortunately, Charles’ step-father Clee died in a car accident when he was 11 years old, and when his half-brothers were still little kids.
Leeds High School wasn’t easy for Charles either, as his physical appearance – he weighed around 220 pounds – gained him cruel nicknames. However, amidst these problems Charles found refuge in his love for basketball.
Although at first he was only given a reserve position in his school’s team due to his short stature, he grew up during the summer previous to his third year, and was given a better playing position the next school year.
During the state’s high school championship he was a great addition for his team, though he didn’t attract the attention of recruits until the semi-finals, when Sonny Smith from the local Auburn University noticed him. Charles Barkley was subsequently granted a basketball scholarship in Auburn to study Business Management.
During three seasons, Charles Barkley played for his university’s basketball team the Auburn Tigers, where he was nicknamed “The Round Mound of Rebound” due to his skills, big build but not-so-tall height. In the center position, Barkley excelled in defense, and won multiple awards such as Player of the Year by the Southeastern Conference, and Player of the Decade. However, he was rejected from the 1984 Olympics Basketball Team due to his weight.
His successful career with the Auburn Tigers allowed Barkley to leave during his third year of college in 1984, signing his first contract in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Philadelphia 76ers after the team’s first draft round.
Although during his first season as a rookie playing for the Philadelphia 76ers he had average numbers, the following season he grew used to the team’s dynamic – and to his teammates such as Moses Malone and Julius Erving – improving his statistics in addition to becoming a rebounder. He was the second scorer for the team with 20.0 points on average, however, Philadelphia wasn’t able to win the National League that year.
Following the transfer of Moses Malone in the 1986’s season, Barkley took Malone’s position as the team’s leader and kept improving his numbers, scoring 34 points on average at the end of the season. The next year he scored 23 points and was included in the NBA All-Star Exhibition Game.
In 1988 Julius Erving left the team, giving Barkley the spot of the team’s franchise player.
During that season and having that privileged position, he averaged 28.3 points, and was part of the All-Star Game, in addition to being selected in the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his promising career. His success as a skilled NBA player gained him an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
In his interview with the magazine, Barkley opened up about team-related issues: ‘It bothered me that I was always the scapegoat, always the reason the Sixers couldn’t win,’ and continued addressing the critiques towards him and the team: ‘Well, I’m here to tell you that one man can’t do it alone. Not Magic Johnson, not Larry Bird, not Charles Barkley, nobody’.
In 1988 the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t make the play-offs, though this changed the following season when the team passed to the first play-offs round, and Barkley averaged 25.8 points, maintaining his spot in the All-Star Game.
In the 1990 season, the magazines Basketball Weekly and The Sporting News named Barkley the Best Player of the Year. His career with the 76ers continued to be immensely successful, and for several years he maintained a high scoring average, in addition to forming part of the All-Star Game’s team consecutively for years.
The 1992 season was the last for Barkley with Philadelphia, and with a scoring average of 23.1 points, he left with the fourth position on the team’s all-time points scoring list.
Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns for the 92-93 season, a team with which he had a respectable career. In his first game he scored 37 points, and for the season he averaged 25.6 points. His contributions to the team didn’t end there though, as the Suns played their first play-offs final in more than a decade.
For his first season with the Phoenix, Barkley won once again a spot in the All-Star Game and was named the most valuable player of the team. His next season was a hard one for him though, as he presented with severe back pain which impeded his play. However, regardless of his health problems he was able to score 21.6 points on average, and led the team to the NBA’s semi-finals.
The next two seasons he continued struggling with his health, as his injuries affected him greatly. Despite his play and many honors with the Phoenix, in 1996 Barkley was traded to the Houston Rockets.
Not completely recovered from his injuries, Barkley struggled to show his skills with the Rockets. He missed 14 games of the 1996 season, though he was ultimately the second point scorer of the team.
In the next season he scored 17.9 points on average – only the second time in his career he averaged less than 20 points – and the Houston Rockets were defeated at the NBA finals.
In 1998 Barkley accumulated 23,000 points overall in the NBA, just the second player to achieve such a feat. However, in the following seasons with the Rockets he had the lowest point average of his career with 15.2, but recovered somewhat in 1999 with 23.5 points.
The 2000 season was the last for Barkley though, as he retired due to his rapidly worsening injuries. After a 16-year career he retired during a game in Houston, receiving an ovation from the public.
Although Barkly didn’t make the cut for the 1984’s US Olympic Basketball Team, he was finally included in the US team for the 1992 and 1996 events, ultimately winning two gold medals and contributing to an Olympic record.
Who is Charles Barkley wife, daughter?
Charles Barkley married Maureen Blumhardt in 1989. The pair met in a Pennsylvania restaurant and soon started dating. Previous to the marriage Blumhardt worked in a legal firm, and was a model.
Charles and Maureen’s only daughter is Christiana, who was born the same year of their marriage. Christiana studied Communication at Columbia University and is currently a contributor to the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.
How rich is he?
As of late 2020, Charles Barkley has an estimated net worth of $50 million, largely as a result of his extraordinary career as a basketball player, but also his subsequent career in the media.
Charles Barkley is a man of Afro-American descent. His strong build is the result of his career as an athlete, and characterized him during years he was active in basketball. He’s 6ft 5ins (1.98m) tall, but his current weight is unknown.
Barkley is good friends with fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Although in the 1990’s Barkley was an open supporter of the Republican Party, in the early 2000’s he changed his political views and showed his support of the Democrat Party and Barack Obama.
One of Barkley’s hobbies is gambling.
In 1991 he mistakenly spat on a young girl during a game, causing a huge controversy. He however apologized not only to the Philadelphia 76ers but also to the person affected by it.
He caused controversy for his Nike commercial “I am not a role model” – which aired in1993 – for saying sports stars weren’t a good example for kids to follow. When asked about it by PEOPLE, Barkley said: ‘I think the media demands that athletes be role models, because there’s some jealousy involved.’
Barkley is an active critic of Donald Trump’s administration.