Throughout his basketball career, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley dealt with plenty of criticism concerning his weight. Barkley‘s weight, combined with his stellar performance on the court earned him the nickname “The Round Mound of Rebound” before he entered the NBA. Before he began his career in the league, his weight was the point of issues as he attempted to force his way out of possibly being selected in the 1984 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Charles Barkley’s college career
During his time with Auburn, Barkley developed into one of the best talents in the nation.
He had become one of the most exciting to players to watch as he played center despite being listed at 6-foot-6 as he could bring the ball up the court and was an extremely talented offensive player that had great athleticism. That saw him average 14.8 points on 68.2 percent shooting from the floor along with 9.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
That saw him lead the SEC in rebounding in each season while earned SEC Player of the Year honor in 1984 along with an All-SEC selection every year. All of that made Barkley a shoo-in to be a top choice in the 1984 NBA draft.
Charles Barkley gained 20 pounds
Before the 1984 NBA Draft, Barkley learned that the 76ers were only able to offer him a one-year, $75,000 contract for his rookie year due to their hard salary-cap situation.
That pushed the Auburn product to do whatever he could to prevent being selected by the 76ers with the fifth overall pick. Philadelphia had wanted Barkley to trim down to around 270. Still, instead of doing that, he decided to go on a two-day food binge as he gained 20 pounds, pushing himself past 300 pounds as stated back in an interview on ESPN Radio back in January 2018. (H/T Slam Magazine)
So we went on a 48-hour bender to Denny’s. We went to Denny’s for two days and I fit as many pancakes as I could in my mouth for breakfast. For lunch, we went to a cafeteria buffet. For dinner we went to a big steakhouse. We did that for 48 hours straight. So, we fly to Philly. I get on the scale and I weigh 302. And the owner of the Sixers calls me every name in the book. And I’m trying to kinda laugh on the inside, like, dude then don’t draft me. But I was trying to be professional.
However, it was a plan that didn’t quite work out in his favor as the 76ers elected to take him with the fifth overall pick anyway. Barkley’s immediate thoughts to the situation were that he thought he made a mistake with his decision to leave college for the NBA.
When they called with the fifth pick in the draft the 76ers take Charles Barkley, I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was in trouble. I was like, holy crap. I left college for $75,000.
Although it was the start of his NBA career that he had hoped, but it worked out for the betterment for the long run of his playing days.
Charles Barkley’s NBA career
Barkley may not have been in the financial situation that he hoped to begin his time in the NBA, but he wound up playing alongside two of the all-time greats in Julius Erving and Moses Malone.
He spent just eight years in Philadelphia, but during that time, he became one of the best players in the league. It set the stage for a Hall of Fame career that saw him earn 11 All-Star selections, an MVP award, five All-NBA First Team selections, five All-NBA Second Team nods, and an All-NBA Third Team selection.
Barkley is widely regarded as being one of the greatest players to play the game. Although there were constant questions about his weight, he made that a side note as he put together an impressive 16-year career.