Charles Wade Barkley (born Feb. 20, 1963) is a retired basketball player who played in the NBA for 16 years. During those years, Barkley emerged as one of the best players in the league. Barkley’s performance in the NBA earned him the admiration of fans as well individual laurels, which made him not just one of the best players of his time, but one of the best player to have ever played in the NBA.
In this Charles Barkley biography, childhood, career, and personal life, we review the life of the ace basketball legend.
Barkley, who now utilizes the experience he amassed during his 16 years of basketball in sports analysis, exhibited a controversial attitude in the league. That made him not just a well-recognized player thanks to his impeccable abilities, but a player with an overbearing attitude, ready to confront anyone.
Charles Barkley Biography Facts, Age, Quick Info
Here are some quick facts you need to know about the American retired basketball player.
- Full Name: Charles Wade Barkley
- Nickname: The Round Mound of Rebound, Sir Barkley
- Born: February 20, 1963
- Age: 59 years old
- Zodiac Sign: Pisces
- Place of Birth: Leeds, Alabama, United States
- Nationality: American
- Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
- Weight: 113 kg (250 lb)
- High School: Leeds High School
- College: Auburn University
- Occupation: Basketball Player
- NBA Draft: 1984 (Round 1; Pick 5) by Philadelphia 76ers
- Position: Power Forward
- Playing Career: 1984–20
- Father: Frank Barkley
- Mother: Charcey Glenn
- Brothers: John Glenn Barkley, Darryl Barkley
- Wife: Maureen Blumhardt (married 1989)
- Children: Christiana Barkley
Charles Barkley Early Life & Childhood
Charles Wade Barkley was born on February 20, 1963, in Alabama at the heights of racism in America. From birth, Barkley experienced discrimination first hand. He was born in a town hospital dominated by white and thus was segregated.
As a baby, Barkley’s parents’ marriage hit the rocks, and therefore they divorced. His father, Frank Barkley, then left his mother, Charcey Glenn, with young Barkley. His mother then went on to remarry and had two other children, but when he turned 11, his stepfather died in an accident.
Despite the racism and family upheavals young Barkley experienced, he was so passionate about basketball. Despite his interest in basketball and his talents, Barkley, who stood at the height of 5 feet 10 inches, was left out of Leeds High School basketball senior basketball team and became a reserve player.
The summer before his senior year, he grew up to 6 feet 4 inches and earned a place in the senior squad. His performance was quite incredible, but it didn’t convince college scouts of his abilities until he led his school to the semifinals of the state championship. After completing high school, Barkley went on to play for Auburn University.
Charles Barkley College Basketball Career
Barkley played three years of college basketball, and during those years, Barkley emerged as a fan favorite due to his dunks and blocked shots. Out of the three years he played college basketball, Barkley topped the SEC rebound charts. Barkley also struggled with weight, but despite that, his perfect games and excellent skills earned him the nickname “The Round Mound of Rebound.”
Barkley, who led Auburn University to its first NCAA Tournament, won several awards due to his outstanding performance and skills. He won the 1984 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year award. He also was named to the Second Team All-American and earned three selections to the All-SEC team. Barkley was also named the SEC Player of the 1980s decade. In 2001 his jersey number was retired by Auburn.
Charles Barkley Professional Career
Philadelphia 76ers (1984–1992)
Barkley chose to forego his final year in high school and entered the 1984 NBA Draft, where the Philadelphia 76ers selected him as the fifth pick in round one. Barkley was privileged to join a team that claimed the NBA Championship the previous year and was star-studded.
The 76ers had Moses Malone, who tutored Barkley and taught him how to manage his weight efficiently. The Philadelphia 76ers progressed to the Eastern Conference finals but lost to the Boston Celtics. Barkley averaged 14.0 points in the regular season and earned a place in the All-Rookie team.
In his second year, Barkley benefitted greatly from his tutelage from Moses Malone and thus ranked as the 76ers second-highest scorer and the team’s rebound leader. The 76ers made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals, and Barkley earned a berth in the All-NBA Second Team.
In his third season, the 1986-87 season, Moses Malone went on to the Washington Bullets, and Barkley thus emerged as the leader in the Philadelphia 76ers. He improved significantly in his scoring and was invited to his first All-star game and earned his second successive All-NBA Second Team selection. In the 1987/88 season, Julius Erving retired, and Barkley emerged as the franchise’s best player.
Despite his incredible form, which saw him earn his second appearance in the All-star game and his first All-NBA First Team selection, the Sixers did not make it to the playoffs. The next season, Barkley was on point and was named to the All-Star Game for the third time and earned another All-NBA First team selection. In the 1989/90 season, though the Sixers finished as Eastern Conference semifinalist, Barkley emerged second in the league MVP voting but won the All-star MVP award and his fourth successive All-NBA First Team selection.
In his final season with the Sixers, the 1991/92 season, Barkley was in great form but requested to be traded from the team after they did not qualify for the playoffs. He also was involved in a spitting incident in which he attempted to spit at a fan who allegedly used racial slurs on air, but the spit landed on a girl. He was suspended for a game and fined $10,000.
Phoenix Suns (1992–1996)
In the 1992/93 season, Barkley, who won the regular-season MVP, led the Suns to the NBA Finals but were defeated by the Chicago Bulls. The next season, he struggled with severe back pains, which prevented him from featuring in the All-Star game, and contemplated retirement. He led the Suns to the semifinals of the Western Conference.
He started his third season with the Suns in poor form but soon improved. He led the Suns to the playoffs, but they were defeated by the Houston Rockets. In his final season with the Suns, he reached 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds which made him the 10th player to reach the milestone. Throughout his time with the Phoenix Suns, he was named to the All-star game and also earned selection to the All-NBA team.
Houston Rockets (1996–2000)
In the 1996/97 season, he moved to the Rockets, where he began his season with a $5,000 fine for fighting a fellow player. His dream of winning an NBA Championship was cut short after the Rockets lost to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference finals.
He missed 14 games during the season due to injury. In the 1997/98 season, Barkley’s performance suffered greatly from injury, which impeded his performance. In the 1998/99 season, Barkley emerged as the second player in the league to reach 23,000 points, 12,000 rebounds, and 4,000 points.
After the 1999/02 season, which marked his 16th and final season, Barkley retired from professional basketball without winning an NBA Championship.
Charles Barkley International Basketball Career
Barkley got his first shot at the Olympics at the 1984 Summer Olympics but failed to make the final cut due to his lack of defense. He featured in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he won Gold on both occasions. He also won Gold at the 1992 Portland FIBA Americas Championship.
Charles Barkley Personal Life
Following his retirement from basketball, Barkley began working as a sports analyst for Turner News Television (TNT).
Barkley is a compulsive gambler. He revealed that he had lost as much as $10 million in gambling and won big at times, such as his Super Bowl XLI bet, which earned him $700,000 in one night. After Wynn Las Vegas casino filed a civil case against him for an outstanding 400,000 debt, in May 2008, which he promptly paid and apologized for the time-lapse, he revealed in his pregame show that he will stop gambling.
Barkley once had affiliations with the Republican party and considered running for the Alabama gubernatorial election in 1998. In 2016, he expressed his desire to once more run for governor of Alabama.
He endorsed Barrack Obama for president in 2007. In 2008, he declared he’d run for president in 2014 but later decided against that. Barkley supports gay rights, and he’s a critic of US President Donald J Trump.
Barkley spent three days in jail and entered an alcohol treatment program after failing a sobriety test in December 2008.
In 1989, Charles Barkley married Maureen Blumhardt. They both have a daughter.
In March 2020 as the COVID 19 rampaged through America, Barkley who was feeling ill tested negative to the virus.
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