American basketball player Charles Barkley captured international attention with his skill and candid personality. In 1993 he led the Phoenix Suns to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals and was named the NBA’s most valuable player (MVP). He is pictured here playing for the United States national basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.
Charles Barkley, born in 1963, American professional basketball player, known to fans as Sir Charles. A leading scorer and rebounder in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for many years, he was also an important member of the United States national basketball teams known as the Dream Teams, which won the gold medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, and the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Georgia. During the 1996-97 NBA All-Star Game, Barkley was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players of the NBA.
Charles Wade Barkley was born in Leeds, Alabama. He was educated at Auburn University and was named basketball player of the year in the Southeastern Conference in 1984. That year Barkley left college to enter the NBA draft and was chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played well as a rookie in the 1984-85 season and in the next season became a starter. With the 76ers, Barkley averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game after his rookie season, and he was selected as an All-Star several times.
Over the years, however, Barkley became increasingly frustrated with the failure of the 76ers to win an NBA championship. He also had well-publicized confrontations with referees, team officials, and fans. After the 1991-92 season, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. In the 1992-93 season Barkley was again named an All-Star, and he led the Suns to the NBA’s best regular-season win-loss record. He was named most valuable player (MVP) of the NBA that season, and the Suns reached the finals of the NBA championship tournament, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls. Barkley suffered numerous injuries over the next few years but remained one of the NBA’s best players.
Before the 1996-97 season Barkley signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, hoping to boost the team’s chances for an NBA championship. Barkley and the Rockets played well over the next few years but failed to win a championship. Early in the 1999-2000 season, Barkley suffered a serious leg injury. After the injury, he announced his intention to retire after playing one final game at the end of the season.
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