Phoenix Suns: 30 greatest players of all-time

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Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns
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Charles Barkley. 2. player. 66. . Power Forward. 1992-96

Charles Barkley is one of the most outgoing and recognizable personalities to ever step onto an NBA court. He has been well-known and generally well-liked since the beginning of his career. Over the years he has collected a wealth of nicknames, including “Sir Charles”, “The Chuck Wagon” and “The Round Mound of Rebound.”

After growing up in the deep south, Barkley was drafted fifth overall out of Auburn University by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 NBA Draft. He would play eight seasons in total for Philadelphia, making six NBA All-Star teams and proving to be a skilled post scorer and rebounder despite his 6-foot-6 size.

1992 proved to be a pivotal year for Barkley. In June, he was traded to the Suns for a package centered around Jeff Hornacek. A month later he was in Barcelona competing with the “Dream Team” of USA Basketball.

The 1992 Summer Olympics were the first time active NBA players could compete in the games. Barkley was a deserving part of a loaded team of stars and started most of the games en route to the gold medal. Stories of his “exploits” in Barcelona are both legendary and played their part in the future international expansion of the NBA’s popularity.

Upon returning to The States, Barkley was now teamed up with Kevin Johnson in Phoenix, and his career reached its highest of heights. He won NBA MVP in 1993, putting up 25 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, a block and steal per game on a Suns team that won 62 games and pushed the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.

In total, Barkley would play just four seasons in the desert, but the quality of those seasons is untouchable. He averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Suns, putting up 44.4 win shares in just 280 games.

He was an NBA All-Star all four years with Phoenix, as well as an annual All-NBA selection. While Barkley and Johnson couldn’t quite get the Suns the title, their pairing pushed the Suns as close as they had come in decades.