Charles Barkley played in the golden era of the NBA.
His career began in the 1984-85 season at the height of the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rivalry, and it ended after the 1999-00 campaign -- two seasons following Michael Jordan's second retirement from the Chicago Bulls after winning six championships in the 1990s.
Barkley played against many of the most talented players the sport has ever seen, but when asked about the best player he ever had to guard, one Boston Celtics legend stood above the rest. The "Round Mound of Rebound" recently revealed, via Joseph Sears of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, that Kevin McHale was the best player he ever played against.
"He's one of the greatest basketball players ever, and I actually work with him now on television," Barkley said during remarks at Tuesday's 32nd annual Stake and Burger event benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rutherford County, Tennessee. "He's the best player I ever played against and had to guard."
This isn't the first time Barkley has praised McHale's game, and it probably won't be the last.
McHale is the best low-post scorer in league history. He had a devastating repertoire of effective moves that consistently made opponents look silly. McHale and Barkley both played power forward, so they were matched up quite a bit, particularly during the legendary battles between the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers during the 1980s.
Barkley's and McHale's skill sets are not at the forefront of today's NBA. Low-post scoring has taken a backseat to the 3-point shot, and there's little (if any) evidence to suggest this trend will reverse anytime soon. One thing we know for sure is these two Hall of Fame players would've been successful in any era because their physical talents were so unique.
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