Welcome back, world, to another round of AGR Authentic Jersey of the Week(end). It’s not quite Sunday, but it’s SUNday on AGR. Yikes, that was bad. In the rare event you arrived here without having read the title of the post or witnessed the above picture, I’ll make it crystal clear: this jersey says Suns on the front and Barkley on the back. I think we’re all a little jealous of that ping-pong table right now.
Before getting into Chuck’s career, I want to bring up a few points about these threads. It’s the black alternate jersey, reserved for the nights when Charles was feeling particularly badass. Two defining features regarding the logo push this jersey over the top. 1) The ink-injected design. The sun-basketball hybrid is a part of the jersey-fabric itself, rather than being screened or sewn on. This is important, because it really accentuates 2) the purple and orange streaks trailing the blazing ball. It’s a unique and defining color combination in the world of sports, even if it makes little sense. Perhaps the Suns’ predilection for purple is the franchise’s way of representing ultra-violet rays?
I want to move on to Chuck, who doesn’t get enough credit in the conversation for “greatest power forward of all-time.” In the league’s history, Sir Charles currently sits at #9 among all players in total career Win Shares. Yes, it’s behind Karl Malone, who played his final two seasons even after being declared legally dead, but it’s ahead of Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki. For that matter, I should mention that being #9 also means Charles outranks the likes of Magic, Bird, Hakeem, Moses, Kobe, Russell, and others.
If you’re disillusioned by totals and prefer per-minute measures, worry not because Barkley is also #9 among all players in career WS/48 and number-freaking-one among all power forwards. This is despite a tame rookie-season and long career that saw Sir Charles grow an extra stomach and a third butt cheek to account for his, err, decadent habits.
About those habits. His lifestyle went beyond the saucy soul-food–Charles’ hedonism in general was of the extra-saucy variety. Barkley was a compulsive gambler–he’s known to have lost $10 million and $2.5 million in a six-hour span playing black jack. He was also arrested for drunk-driving; after being pulled over for running a red light, Charles explained that he was in a rush to receive oral sex. Charles might not have gained bro-points with officer, but here at AGR it’s all about the sauce. [Salute.] Hopefully his drunken and sexual exploits didn’t overlap with his tendency to spit on girls. After his misfiring his saliva, Charle’s pacified an outraged world by explaining that he missed his target because his spit “didn’t get enough foam.” In light of Charles’ missteps, it’s no wonder he claimed that he wasn’t a role model.
That being said, as far as hoops goes, Chuck is a strikingly good role-model. Unlike other stars whose height allowed them to dominate, Charles succeed with tenacity, hard-work, and resilience. Charles didn’t even make varsity a high school junior, was barely recruited to play college basketball, and went by the nickname “Round Mound of Rebound.” He stood a mere 6′ 5″ and measured the same in circumference. Knowing all that, is it fathomable that among the power forwards below, Barkley was head and shoulders the most efficient scorer and best offensive rebounder? Moreover, Sir Charles accomplished this in an era of dominating centers–Barkley was dealing with the likes of D-Rob, Hakeem, Ewing, Shaq, Alonzo, and Dikembe in addition to his PF counterparts. In speaking of PF counterparts, check the below table.(Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table)
Barkley was the best ball-thief among them, and incredible at everything else. We can forgive his shot-blocking, because he was short, and because what blocks he did get turned into incredible highlights. And on that note, watch the below video and ask yourself: Which of the above players could do what Barkley did on the court?
Have any other thoughts on the Suns or Sir Charles? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.