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Charles Barkley surprises Sixers, tells them to 'make the playoffs'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Charles Barkley has been vocal over the summer about his expectations for the Sixers to make the playoffs

This week, he let them know.

Head coach Brett Brown hosted the Sixers at his home for a team gathering on Monday. The team arranged for Barkley to arrive as a surprise guest for the players. 

Barkley delivered his message loud and clear.

“Pretty much, make the playoffs,” Richaun Holmes said on Tuesday at training camp.  

Barkley, a Hall of Fame inductee in 2006, spent eight seasons in Philadelphia. He saw his number retired in 2001. The Sixers watched highlights of his storied career during the night. 

“He had some really encouraging words for us and talked to us about what it means to play in Philly and his experience,” Kris Humphries said. “Above all, Chuck’s always entertaining, so [we] had some good laughs, too.”

The Sixers are on board with Barkley’s aspirations. This season they have the opportunity to make the jump among the top eight teams in the East. Between adding to their roster and opponents trading away key players, the conference is wide open for new faces in the postseason. 

“Our goal is to make the playoffs,” Brown said. “There are several other teams … that are in a room saying something similar. For me, let’s talk about what that really means and let’s very much zoom in on the things that will allow us to do that.” 

The Sixers will strive to play beyond April 11. The team knows the steps it has to take in order for Barkley to say, "I told you so." 

“I feel once everybody’s on the same page and doesn’t care about anything but winning … that’s when I think we’ll be a great team,” Amir Johnson said.