A Chat with the Chuckster
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He spent just four seasons in purple and orange, yet he is easily the most popular and beloved player to ever put on a Phoenix Suns uniform.
Charles Barkley, the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 1992-93, will be recognized and rewarded for his contributions to the organization and Valley when he becomes the 10th person to be inducted into the Suns' Ring of Honor.
The Suns acquired the outrageous superstar in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on June 17, 1992, adding him to an already loaded lineup -- featuring Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle and Tom Chambers -- that had advanced to the Western Conference Finals twice in the previous four years.
Averaging an incredible 25.6 points, 12.2 boards and 5.1 assists a game, Barkley led the Suns to a franchise-record 62 wins in 1992-93 and lifted the club into the NBA Finals for only the second time in team history.
The Suns fell to the Michael Jordan-led Bulls in one of the league's most entertaining Finals match-ups, which included the unforgettable triple-overtime Game 3, won by the Suns in Chicago.
Over his next three seasons in Phoenix, Barkley would twice guide the Suns to the Conference Semifinals, where they pushed the eventual NBA Champion Houston Rockets to seven games in both 1994 and '95.
Now a successful broadcaster with the NBA on TNT, Barkley will return to Phoenix for a weekend in his honor. The Suns will highlight the lighter, more comical side of the Chuckster's career and distribute 10,000 Barkley Bobbleheads on Friday, March 19, followed by his Ring of Honor ceremony at halftime of the Suns-Bucks game on Saturday, March 20.
But the celebration tipped off a few days early on Suns.com, as Barkley chatted live with Phoenix fans -- who he has, on many occasions, called his favorite fans in the NBA. Check out what Charles had to say:
Shakila (Columbus, OH): Hi Charles, I met you in Dayton, OH two years ago at the celebrity golf classic. Congratulations on being inducted into the Suns' Ring of Honor. How does it feel to be put on the spotlight in a positive way?
Charles Barkley: I miss Dayton. I didn't get to go back to the tournament. I look forward to going back this year. This is one of the greatest things to happen in my life, if not the greatest.
peoris: did you enjoy your time playing on the Suns? what was your feelings in winning the most valuable player while with the Suns?
Charles Barkley: Best three years of my life basketball-wise were in Phoenix. I know I played there for four years, but I don't count the last year. Winning the MVP was a great team accomplishment.
Jesse (San Antonio): Is there an underdog team you feel that will shock some teams in the playoffs?
Charles Barkley: There are no underdogs. I still like... if Tim Duncan is healthy, I like San Antonio. I like the Lakers or whoever comes out of the East among Pacers and Detroit. People think I don't like the Kings, but I just don't think they play enough defense to win it all.
David (Chicago): Why did you decide to start working with TNT?
Charles Barkley: I had a chance to go to NBC at the time, but I felt like I could have more fun at TNT and it's been a great decision, I'm having a great time.
Randy (Phoenix): Hey Chuck, what's your favorite memory from that Suns' run to the Finals?
Charles Barkley: Round One against the Lakers. We lost the first two at home and we were devastated. And Westphal told the room we were gonna go to LA and win two games, and come home and finish it off, and it really gave us a bolt of energy and it worked out great.
John (Phoenix): Who was the best player on that 93 team?
Charles Barkley: Oh, probably... easily myself (laughing).
David, Germany: Hey Sir Charles, what do you remember about those battles between you and KJ, and Stockton and Malone?
Charles Barkley: It was a great confrontation... First of all Germany is my favorite place to visit in the world... I also think John Stockton is the most overlooked basketball superstar in history.