76ers

Why Charles Barkley is as Philly as it gets

Why Charles Barkley is as Philly as it gets

Charles Barkley wasn’t born here, but he’s as Philadelphia as it gets.

The Hall of Famer, former Sixer and current analyst spent Thursday hanging out at 97.5 The Fanatic’s studios in Bala Cynwyd. He co-hosted with Mike Missanelli for the entire four-hour show.

He talked about his love for the fans, the city, the Sixers and all things Philly … except cheesesteaks (He had one when he was drafted in 1984 and hasn’t been back for one since.)

There was never a dull moment during the entire Mike Missanelli Show Thursday.

Ben and Jo's accountability

Of course the hottest topic for Barkley was the Sixers and his thoughts on the teams two young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Barkley lavished the pair with praise, saying he thought they were the most talented duo since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. 

Him and Ben together, could be the new Shaq and Kobe,” Barkley said. “Now, Ben’s not on Kobe’s level and Joel’s not on Shaq’s level, but I think it’s fair to say … I’ll say this: I think Ben Simmons, in his third year, I think you can say — people forget, Kobe is one of the five or six greatest players ever, but he struggled early in his career. I think you can say Ben is at least — and I’m not saying he’s going to be greater than Kobe, don’t mix up my words — but he’s got potential to be one of the best to ever do it. And Joel, ain’t nothing he can’t do if he stays off that three-point line.

Barkley believes in both young players, but also acknowledged that both players are flawed and need to be held accountable. Embiid’s issues have been his health and fitness — something Barkley can relate to from early in his career.

Sir Charles was glad to see that Embiid cried and felt the pain of losing that Game 7 in Toronto, but wants someone with the Sixers to do what Moses Malone and Billy Cunningham did for a young Barkley.

I’ve told this story before, the most important person in my life was Moses Malone,” Barkley said. “I remember talking to him one day and I said, ‘Moses, why am I not getting to play?’ He said ‘You’re fat and you’re lazy.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You’re fat and you’re lazy.’ He said, ‘Charles, you can’t play in the NBA at 300 pounds. … I know you led your conference in rebounding all three years, but you’re not going to be in good enough shape and you can’t work hard enough to play in the NBA.’ And this guy, who I called ‘dad,’ met me every day before practice, after practice. He made me lose 10 pounds — 290, 280, 270, 260, 250. I actually got to 240 but I had no strength or energy and he said, ‘250 is your playing weight.’

Barkley recalled that then-owner Harold Katz traded away Marc Iavaroni to free up playing time. Cunningham, the Sixers' coach at that time, told Barkley bluntly, “Your fat a— ain’t playing because you don’t work hard enough.”

The rest, as they, is history.

As for Simmons, Barkley said he’s done with the shooting videos against “waiters and bartenders.” He’s ready for Simmons to shoot in an actual NBA game. 

But he’s bullish on the Sixers as a whole. He believes Tobias Harris will be better with Jimmy Butler gone and he loves the additions of Al Horford and Josh Richardson. He’s already made his bet on the NBA Finals. 

“I’m already out on the limb, brother,” Barkley said to Missanelli. “World champions.”


‘They sent me to war with a BB gun’

Barkley was unceremoniously traded to the Phoenix Suns in 1992 for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry. There are several reasons why the return wasn’t great.

One of which is that Barkley wanted out after a couple dismal seasons. Another is that the Sixers’ front office at the time “didn’t know what the hell they were doing,” according to Barkley.

[Sixers owner] Harold [Katz] comes in, wants to know what’s going on, why we stink so bad. Everybody lies — ‘Well, we’re not playing good enough defense. … We need to get some better outside shooters. … We got to do a better job on the boards.’ Like seven, eight bogus excuses. And I’m steaming at this point and all the sudden Harold turns to me, ‘Charles, you don’t have anything to say?’ I said, ‘You don’t want to hear what I got to say.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, you’re the captain, I want to hear what you got to say.’ I said, ‘The reason we no good because that guy right there and that guy right there suck at basketball. Them two suck, right there.’ And they stand up and I stand up and grab my stool and I said, ‘If you come over here I’m going to break this damn stool across your damn head.’

One of “them two” was Charles Shackleford. Barkley recalled when Katz initially told him the team acquired Shackleford.

I remember I was having dinner with Harold Katz and he says, ‘We got Charles Shackleford.’ And I’m like, ‘From N.C. State?’ He says, ‘Yeah, he led the Italian league in rebounding.’ I said, ‘Dude, if I want Italian, I’ll have pasta or something. I’m not looking for no basketball players. No disrespect to Italians, but I want some Italian food, I ain’t looking for no basketball players over in Italy.’

Barkley said it had gotten so bad that Shackleford would purposely pick up fouls early in games because the Philly crowd was too rough on him. 

AP Images

Man of the people

Speaking of people not being able to handle the Philly crowd, Barkley weighed in on the recent entitled comments made by Phillies utilityman Sean Rodriguez.

“Listen, Mr. Rodriguez: Stay off that grenade. Leave the fans alone.”

Barkley remembers hearing about Sixers first-round pick Shawn Bradley’s wife getting into it with fans. He also referenced Simmons’ comments during the playoffs last season. Though he said the fans never booed him, he told all players to expect it and not take it personally.

If there is anyone that understands the Philadelphia fan, it’s Barkley. He still feels the love whenever he’s in the city.

A big part of that is probably the way he treats people. He was gracious with every single person he came across and grateful for every caller with a story of how they met him at a nightclub back in the day or just how much he meant to the city. He saw a woman with cleaning supplies picking up around the studio. He asked her how she was doing, asked her for her name and said, “Hi, I’m Charles.”

As he left the studio, a few fans were waiting outside hoping to snag an autograph and a picture.

Paul Hudrick

Barkley yelled out affectionately, “Oh, you mother f—ers!”

He then proceeded to sign all their autographs and take pictures.

As Philadelphia as it gets.

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Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Stephen A. Smith's track record of predicting things is suspect to say the least.

So it's with great trepidation that Philadelphia 76ers fans should watch the below clip in which he predicts an NBA Finals appearance for Brett Brown's club this coming season.

Smith made the prediction on ESPN's First Take on Friday morning while sitting alongside NBA legend Magic Johnson (the joke about tampering with Giannis may have been the highlight of the segment).

"The Philadelphia 76ers are going to the NBA Finals," Smith declares. "I'm going to defer to my man Jalen Rose when he points out that Boston arguably has the best perimeter shooting team. We can't ignore that. Toronto lost Kawhi, ain't nothing to discuss. The Greek Freak, as phenomenal as he is, the combo of not having a reliable perimeter shot combined with Malcolm Brogdon being in Indiana..."

"My attitude is, I don't like the fact that Philly lost JJ Redick, that's a big loss to me," Smith continues. "The fact that Boston no longer has Al Horford and the Sixers do, not only somebody to pair with Embiid but to spell him whenever he's out. I'm going to believe Ben Simmons has been working on his shot. I'm going to believe Tobias Harris doesn't have to worry about co-existing with Jimmy Butler and that's a plus. I'm going to believe Josh Richardson can play at both ends of the floor..."

"I'm a little suspect on their bench, but I think the Sixers are going to be playing in June."

On the bright side for Philly fans, it's not like Smith is making some bold proclamation here. FiveThirtyEight's prediction model actually gives the Sixers the best chances of making the Finals of any team in the NBA given the East's weaker make up than the West. In fact, they give the Sixers almost twice as good a chance of doing so than the next closest Eastern contender the Bucks (54% vs. 27%).

So Stephen A. isn't going out on a limb, but it never feels great when he picks your squad in anything.

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Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

76ers_red_statement_jersey.jpg
@ChrisHeck76

Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

The Sixers' Statement Edition jerseys last year were the red uniforms that said "Sixers" across the front in an interesting script. It appears those jerseys will be different for the 2019-2020 season.

Chris Heck, President of the Sixers and Mr. #OnBrand, tweeted out an image of the new jerseys that look quite similar to last season's but instead of "Sixers" across the front they have the familiar "Phila" in script.

Give it a look below:

The jerseys also have the familiar stars down the side of the jersey. The team hasn't made an official announcement just yet so it's unclear what other details may have changed from season to season.

This Statement Edition will join the two regular jerseys, Icon Edition (standard blue) and Association Edition (standard white), alongside the recently unveiled Classic Edition jerseys that feature a throwback to the 70s look with that very interesting "Seventy Sixers" across the front and Ben Simmons sitting in a dope old-school car.

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