Barkley inducted into Basketball's Hall of Fame

Friday September 8, 2006 3:05 PM

Sir Charles enshrined

Barkley, who played four seasons in Houston, is inducted into Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame:   Career Stats

Damien Pierce Staff Writer

Charles Barkley is known better for his outrageous comments than his outrageous game.

He speaks his mind. He stirs up conversation. He makes people laugh and cringe at the same time.

Barkley is, quite simply, the NBA's King of One Liners.

"He is really something," Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo told "He is one of the most colorful players ever to play the game. (But what people forget is that) not many players compare with Charles Barkley in terms of size and what he was able to accomplish. He became a dominant inside power player at that size and had an incredible
career in terms of individual statistics."

He's got a statue in Springfield, Mass. to prove he's not just a talker.

Despite being better known for what he was saying off the court rather than what he was doing on it, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday in Springfield because he remains one of the most dominating power forwards to ever play the game.

The former Rockets power forward was presented at his induction by ex-Houston center Moses Malone --the Hall of Famer and Philadelphia teammate from Barkley’s early days -- and Colangelo.

Barkley earned the ceremony after using his undersized 6-foot-6 stature -- OK, maybe it was really closer to 6-foot-4 -- to dominate players of all sizes and earn a reputation as one of the league's most ferocious rebounders.

By the time he had finished his playing career, Barkley had a nickname that demanded respect: Sir Charles.

"I remember the first time I saw Charles Barkley on TV," Colangelo told "I was reading the paper and watching Auburn play. I saw this rotund, 6-4 guy get a rebound off the defensive glass, put the ball down, dribble behind his back, pass behind his back, someone missed a layup and he went up and dunked it. It caught my attention to say the least."

Barkley, who played for Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston over his career, garnered as many headlines for telling parents he wasn't a role model in a famous Nike ad as he did for becoming an 11-time NBA All-Star.

However, none of his critics would knock his game.

After entering the league as a chubby kid from Auburn known as the "Round Mound of Rebound," Barkley transformed himself into one of the most feared power forwards.

He outsmarted big men. He pushed around little men. And he made a career of backing people down.

Besides winning a pair of gold medals and becoming one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, Barkley was the league's MVP in 1993 with the Phoenix Suns.

He might have talked a lot, but he backed most everything up on the court.

"There is nobody who does what Barkley does," Bill Walton told "He's a dominant rebounder, a dominant defensive player, a three-point shooter, a dribbler, a playmaker."

After four seasons with the Suns, Barkley was traded from Phoenix to Houston in 1996.

Barkley joined Rockets stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in an effort to win an NBA championship after failing to capture a title in his first 12 seasons in the league.

Unfortunately, the aging trio couldn't get a ring for Barkley. Barkley was slowed by injuries, Olajuwon ended up finishing his career in Toronto and Drexler retired.

Barkley had his best season with Houston in Year One. He was the Rockets' second-leading scorer at 19.2 points, but injuries limited him to just 53 games. Houston was knocked out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Finals by Utah.

Despite planning to play his final full season with the Rockets in 1999-2000, he had his farewell tour cut short because of a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his left knee. He ended up playing only 20 games.

Barkley ended his career as one of only four players in NBA history to compile 20,000-plus points, 10,000-plus rebounds and 4,000-plus assists.

During his career, Barkley would speak his mind about any issue that was raised, from racism to politics.

He has taken those outspoken qualities to TNT, where he is an NBA analyst.

"I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said, but I respected the fact
that if he had something on his mind, he certainly let people know how he felt," Colangelo told
"He didn't hold back any punches and that was just the way that he was and the
way he is. And I don't think that will ever change. He's very much an extrovert,
very much an outspoken personality, and certainly he's build a post-NBA career
using the gifts given him in terms of conversation and being a little

He'll always be the outspoken Sir Charles. Check that. He'll always be the outspoken Hall of Famer, Sir Charles.

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