Bavetta vs. Barkley: Sir Charles Reigns
by Darren Misener

The Race: Barkley vs. Bavetta
Watch Charles Barkley take on NBA referee Dick Bavetta in a race during All-Star Saturday night.
Bavetta Post Race News Conference
Dick Bavetta talks to the media after his race against Sir Charles.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Bavetta's knee was a little worse for the wear on Saturday Night.
It's Barkley, by a back.

On All-Star Saturday, in front of a raucous Las Vegas crowd, Dick Bavetta and Charles Barkley met to determine who could run three and a half basketball courts faster. And the winner was crowned as Sir Charles backpedaled across the finish line victorious before falling down backwards.

It was a valiant effort by the 67-year-old Bavetta, who dived to try and cross the finish line before the lumbering would-be champion. The agile referee busted open his right knee on the dive, and was seen bleeding moments later. After the match, the two embraced and all was well. But Bavetta had a reason for him coming up just a bit short.

"67, 44... 67, 44," Bavetta said referring to the ages of the two competitors.

The initial challenge to race was issued on Jan. 4 when Barkley made a courtside appearance with Marv Albert for TNT’s broadcast of the L.A. Lakers at Sacramento Kings game. During the first half of the matchup, in which Bavetta was officiating, Barkley commented, “I can outrun Dick Bavetta right now, Marv.”

After hearing of this, Bavetta offered a $5,000 bet with the winner's money going to a charity of Barkley's choice.

Before the contest, and since we were in the fight capital of the world, we sized these two fierce competitors up (pun intended, Mr. Barkley) in the Tale of the Tape.


Somewhere between 252 and 300 (or so)
TNT Analyst
32nd NBA Season
16 Seasons in the NBA
Dec. 10, 1939
Feb. 20, 1963
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Leeds, Alabama
Power Memorial (N.Y.)
High School
Leeds (Leeds, Alabama)
St. Francis College
Runs five miles a day
Will be at NIKE, Air Force 25th Anniversary Party at the Venetian Friday night
Probably some fruit or an energy bar
Pre-Race Meal
Lets just say Vegas is synonymous with all-you-can-eat buffets
Sir Charles, Round Mound of Rebound, Just Round
In his playing days, Barkley was arguing a call, Bavetta responded "How about that Erica Kane (on All My Children)? Did you see her today? She's involved with the chauffeur."
Previous Confrontation
Forgot about the call he was arguing and started asking Bavetta more about the daytime soap.
Runs non-stop for 48 minutes a night for all to see.
Anecdotal Evidence
Last December, was huffing and puffing while attempting to climb the steps of the New Orleans Superdome on TNT for all to see.
"If it's an eating contest, I think Charles wins, but in a race, I would take Dick," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell.
"Scouts" Take
"Charles, let me say something to you, there’s no way you can critique the game the way you critique it if you cannot beat a referee,” Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Garnett.
Throughout his career, he has never missed an assigned game, officiating over 2,095 regular season and 214 playoff games, including 23 NBA Finals games.
Shining Moment
Once kissed a donkey's rear on live TV (Oh, and was 1993 NBA MVP and is a Hall of Famer).
When asked if Barkely might be twice his size, responded: "Try three times. I'm only 160 pounds."
Trash Talk
Barkley spouted Bavetta's tombstone will read, "He keeled over while racing the Chuckster!" and has claimed Bavetta was old enough to have "parted the Red Sea with Moses."
Will Bavetta's endurance translate into a shorter race success?
Unanswered Questions
I'll let TNT's Ernie Johnson handle this one: "(Charles) answer me one question... which hamstring are you going to grab at when you fall behind and have to pull up?"