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At this point in time, basketball fans generally know that Charles Barkley can be something of a wild card. During his playing carer, the forward was capable of making headlines with his on-court performance and his extracurricular activities. In retirement, that unpredictability has come to TNT. Sir Charles could sound off about one of his favorite targets — like the city of San Antonio — make fun of his coworkers, or make an actual point about basketball. He’s like a metaphorical box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.

During the NCAA Tournament, though, we got something completely unexpected: an admission that, during the early days of his NBA career, Barkley would take a postgame shower in his uniform. And, to make things even weirder, Chuck tried to play it off as a standard practice at the time.

Sound unbelievable? Let’s roll the videotape.

Charles Barkley would clean his NBA uniform by wearing it in the shower when he had to fly the next morning

If you’ve ever taken an extended vacation, you’ll know that it can sometimes be tricky to do laundry on the road. During the early days of his professional basketball career, Charles Barkley apparently faced that same challenge. The forward may have found a solution, but it doesn’t seem like the smartest idea.

“I’m so old we used to take a shower in our uniforms,” Sir Charles explained on Turner’s NCAA Tournament coverage. “Cause we flew commercial my first few years.”

At that point, Kenny Smith interrupted, insisting that there was never an era when players would shower in their jerseys. “You’re making this up,” he told Chuck. “There’s no way that you were supposed to wash you uniform with it on.”

Clark Kellog then intervened, telling the former UNC guard to let Barkley say his piece. The Round Mound of Rebound, however, didn’t start making any more sense.

When I first got to the NBA, we flew commercial. So, when you played the night before and flew the next morning, when was you exactly going to get your uniform cleaned? You had to wash your uniform yourself. So, after the game, when you got to your room, you took a shower in your uniform and dried it, and dropped it on the commercial airline the next morning.

Charles Barkley

And if that logic sounds baffling to you, don’t worry. Smith, Kellog, and Greg Gumble all sounded baffled by what they were hearing. Ultimately, though, they reached the heart of the matter. Barkley just wanted to get things done with the minimal amount of effort.

“You can clean your uniform without showering in it. That is possible. You can actually clean it without showering in it,” Kellog said.

“But it’s easier to do it that way,” Chuck responded.

And there you have it, folks. Let’s just hope that, for everyone’s sake, the forward also had a good to dry his uniform before leaving the hotel. Some damp athletic gear might smell better than game-worn attire, but that doesn’t mean it was a bouquet of roses, either.


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