52 quotes and random facts about Charles Barkley

Friday February 20th, 2015
Manny Millan/SI

Charles Barkley was born 52 years ago today, on Feb. 20, 1963. In honor of his birthday, we rounded up 52 quotes and random facts about the artist formerly known as the Round Mound of Rebound.

  • 1
    "Barkley's like something off the pad at Canaveral. He flies through the air and you don't know how."
    Al Menendez, director of player personnel for the New Jersey Nets (1984)

  • 2
    Fact: He once had an infectious boil in his armpit that had to be lanced, forcing him to eschew deodorant for a week.
    Sports Illustrated story by Alexander Wolff, 1985

  • 3
    "At training table I just keep my hands away from Barkley's plate."
    John Stockton (1984)

  • 4
    He's "a cartoon character"
    Kentucky forward Winston Bennett (1984 profile)


    Focus on Sport/Getty Images

  • 5
    He's "the Eighth Wonder of the World."
    Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale (1984 profile)

  • 6
    Fact: He called his college girlfriend Knucklehead.

  • 7
    “If anything, he owes me an apology for coming to play with his fat butt."
    Scottie Pippen (1999)

  • 8
    "Say what you will about Charles Barkley--when he tells you he's going to do something, he'll either do it, or he won't do it."
    Karl Malone (1998)

  • 9
    He's "like a teapot boiling over"
    76ers center Mike Gminski (1988 profile)


    Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

  • 10
    "Charles told me I'm special."
    Barney the Dinosaur (SNL, 1993)

  • 11
    "Sigmund Freud would jump out of the grave to examine Charles Barkley."
    Utah Jazz President Frank Layden (The National, 1991)

  • 12
    Fact: He tried to drive through the gate after practice once, because it was closed and he was eager to get home for lunch.

  • 13
    "Charles does enough talking for both of us."
    His wife, Maureen (2002 profile)

  • 14
    He once dunked so hard that he moved the 2,240-pound basket support six inches to the right.


    Walter Iooss Jr./SI

  • 15
    Fact: He’s used the name “Homer Simpson” when checking in at hotels.

  • 16
    "Barkley is like the kid who takes your hand and leads you to where he colored on the walls with Magic Marker—you're so disarmed by his honesty that you can't stay mad at him."
    Phil Taylor (Sports Illustrated, 2008)

  • 17
    "Only one guy gets to be Elvis. Same thing with Charles."
    Former Suns coach Paul Westphal (1993 Sports Illustrated profile)

  • 18
    He's "a Pavarotti in short pants."
    Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated (1992)

  • 19
    He's "the bizarre uncle you keep in the attic during the family reunion"


    Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty Images

  • 20
    “He has become, at once, America's greatest Olympic ambassador and its greatest potential nightmare, a man who can turn a grimace into a smile -- or vice versa -- in an instant.”
    Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated (1992)

  • 21
    "It's so hard to stay mad at the sucker.”
    Auburn coach Sonny Smith (1984 profile)

  • 22
    "He's like a little kid who's just found out he can walk on his hands and says, 'Look what I can do!'"
    Mark Stevenson, Barkley’s tutor at Auburn (1984 profile)

  • 23
    "You can't move him because he's got such a low center of gravity. And by low center of gravity, I mean he's got a big butt. He's definitely got a butt that could win any big butt contest he enters."
    Portland forward Mychal Thompson (1986 Sports Illustrated profile)

  • 24
    "When he leans on you, it's like being crushed by a trash compactor."
    Boston center Robert Parish (1986 Sports Illustrated profile)


    Jeffrey Phelps/NBAE via Getty Images

  • 25
    "When he gets up a head of steam, people just go flying off him like he was knocking down bowling pins. You need chains and a billy club to stop him."
    Lakers coach Pat Riley (1986 Sports Illustrated profile)

  • 26
    Fact: He once chewed up his remote control.

  • 27
    “Barkley is a better show before a game than most players are during it."
    Phil Taylor, Sports Illustrated (1998)

  • 28
    He's "the Human Sound Bite"
    Phil Taylor, Sports Illustrated (1994)

  • 29
    He's "a dead ringer for The Love Boat itself.”
    Curry Kirkpatrick, Sports Illustrated (1982)


    Brett Deering/Getty Images

  • 30
    "I thought he was just a big shot with a big mouth. But he's the nicest man in the world."
    Atlanta hotel front desk employee (2002 profile)

  • 31
    "What made Charles so tough was, first of all, his big ass."
    Horace Grant (Sports Illustrated, 2013)

  • 32
    "Charles Barkley needs to shut up."
    LeBron James (2013)

  • 33
    "Barkley almost never goes anywhere without collecting a new best friend."
    Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated (2009)

  • 34
    Fact: Barkley was born underweight and with health problems; he was given a blood transfusion at six weeks old.


    Greg Zabilski/ABC via Getty Images

  • 35
    He's "quite possibly the most amazing, dynamic and fun-to-watch collegian in all the land"
    Curry Kirkpatrick, Sports Illustrated (1983)

  • 36
    "He has a body like Wes Unseld's and jumps like Dr. J."
    Philadelphia 76ers player personnel director Jack McMahon, (1984 profile)

  • 37
    "A drunken, non-golf-playing alien could improve Barkley's swing."
    Jim McLean, Doral Golf Resort (2009)

  • 38
    Fact: He successfully wrote off thousands of dollars in fines for fighting and other transgressions as "ordinary expenses" on his taxes.

  • 39
    "If you ever ask Barkley a question, the one answer you know you won't get is 'No comment.' Charles Barkley is a living comment."
    David DuPree, Hoop Magazine


    Walter Iooss Jr./SI

  • 40
    “I love Charles because he’s so honest. You can see a thought form in his head and then move right out his mouth without stopping in between.”
    Chris Ford

  • 41
    He's "a human spaceship"
    Tony Kornheiser, 1984

  • 42
    "Chuck's an idiot."
    Keith Olbermann, repeatedly (2015)

  • 43
    Fact: When he wasn't playing basketball as a kid, he burned off extra energy by jumping back and forth over a five-foot fence around his house.

  • 44
    "He’s like the guy that insists on coming to book club, but didn’t read the book, but wants to dominate the conversation."


    Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

  • 45
    Fact: Barkley and Arnold Schwarzenegger were spokesmen for dueling Japanese noodle companies.

  • 46
    "Barkley ... is like a superhero who strolls out of the rubble of a collapsed building, calmly brushing dust off his shoulders as if nothing ever happened."
    Phil Taylor (Sports Illustrated, 2008)

  • 47
    Fact: He used to wear extra sweatbands to give out to kids after games.

  • 48
    Fact: He didn't graduate with the rest of his high school class because he flunked Spanish.

  • 49
    He “doesn't have a tactful bone in his wide body."
    Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated


    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

  • 50
    "He's second to none in notoriety. He's warm, he's defiant, he's nice, he's contemptuous."
    Mark Heisler, LA Times (1993 profile)

  • 51
    "He threw me down with his left hand and dunked with his right. I figured he didn't want to be interrupted. And that we should become friends."
    Olympic basketball hopeful Mark Halsel, 1984

  • 52
    "The thing about Charles is that he's his biggest fan. Charles Barkley is a bigger fan of Charles Barkley than any person in the world."
    Former 76ers forward Derek Smith (Sporting News, 1990)

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