I just read Valsviews' review of Charles Barkley. As soon as I read it, I couldn't help but think of the NBA Superstar's video (see bottom of review). I was a huge fan of Barkley growing up. Not only did the guy have a totally unique and explosive game. The vast majority of the time, he played with serious heart, hustle and intensity - which is why he was able to win a rebounding title, while standing only 6'5" (6'4" by some accounts), and to guard players much taller than he was.
But playing style aside, he had, quite possibly the greatest nickname in sports history ... I ask you, what's better than the "Round Mound of Rebound"? Answer: nothing. In later years, he was given the nickname "The Chuckwagon", which I find to be a great nickanme as well, but The Round Mound has no peers.
While he was and is often controversial, he has a magnetic personality. I personally enjoy the TNT Halftime show with Chuck, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith more than the actual game a lot of the time, and that's due almost entirely to Barkley.
This highlight video came from a legendary "NBA Superstars" VHS tape that was released in 1990. The tape highlighted several of the greatest players of all time: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins (a contender for the greatest sports nickname ever, award), Isaiah Thomas, etc. Each player's highlights were set to a song that fit the player and his style. While the clip is grainy, it still allows you to appreciate Barkley's ability... his explosiveness off two legs is incredible for such a, ummm, stout guy. The fact that it is set to the incredibly cheezy 80s song "The Warrior" makes it that much better. Some of my favorite sequences include:
- The 27 second mark where Barkley crosses over between his legs (breaking the very brittle ankles of Bill Walton), then proceeds to dunk between the entire Celtics team (including Hall of Famers, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton, all of whom are much, much taller than Barkley).
- The 1:04 mark - dunking on Jerome Kersey, followed by "giving" Kersey the ball (while I don't condone poor sportsmanship, this is classic Barkley intimidation)
- The 1:13 mark where he stuffs a dunk attempt by Ron Harper (I believe its Harper), then blocks and grabs(!!!) the follow up shot to start a fast break.
- From 1:35 to 1:43 where he dunks on the Utah Jazz, then Patrick Ewing, then makes Kareem look old (in Kareem's defense, he was).