You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

‘I Don’t Know If I’ve Ever Been That Skinny’: Sixers Unveil Statue Honoring Charles Barkley

CBS Philadelphia logoCBS Philadelphia 9/13/2019 Syndicated Local – CBS Philly
a man standing in front of a building © Provided by CBS Local, a division of CBS Radio Inc

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The Philadelphia 76ers honored a legendary player and Philly favorite on Friday. A statue of Charles Barkley was unveiled along Legends Walk at the Sixers’ practice facility in Camden.

To enter the Sixers’ state of the art practice facility, you must pass by statues of some of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.

Among them include Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and now one more — Charles Barkley.

It was a special day for the NBA Hall of Famer as the Sixers honored him before unveiling his statue on their Walk of Legends.

“The attitude you played with, the hustle, it screamed out Philly,” Sixers general manager Elton Brand said. “It is Philly and your DNA is still currently in this team today.”

Barkley spent the first half of his NBA career with the Sixers but decided to move on in pursuit of a championship.

The Round Mound of Rebound — as he’s called — is one of the greatest to ever play. An 11-time All-Star, he was the leading scorer on the original 1992 Olympic Dream Team. He remains in the spotlight as an Emmy-award winning commentator.

But Barkley still calls Philly home.

“When you grow up in Leeds, Alabama, in the projects and all these 56 years later you’re standing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and you’ve had this amazing journey,” Barkley said, “all you really can say is thank you. I hope today’s players understand, man, we’re so lucky. We’re so blessed to dribble a stupid basketball for a living. We are so lucky and blessed. Always sign autographs, always take pictures, always try to be cordial.

“The fans are the best things about this whole dynamic. But just appreciate how lucky we are to dribble a stupid basketball. We’re not like a teacher, foreman or policeman or doctor or somebody like that — somebody who has a real job, who’s out there every single day battling. It just feels so lucky and blessed at our job.

“I’m 56 years old and I’ve never had a real job, and I’m not looking for one. I’m going to ride this TV thing out.”

After all the praise came the big reveal.

“Very nice, I don’t know if I’ve ever been that skinny,” Barkley said.

The eighth statue — like all the others on the walk — was created by local artist Chad Fisher.

Admittedly undersized and overweight when he joined the Sixers in 1984, Barkley says former teammate Moses Malone helped him reach his Hall of Fame potential and embrace life in the spotlight.

“The best thing that happened to me was probably the spitting incident because when I was suspended and I was sitting in that hotel room, I was like, ‘Dude, you need to calm down and just play basketball,'” Barkley said.

Barkley says he’s amazed by the detail and likeness and he hopes it serves as inspiration to the current Sixers who pass the statute on their way to practice.

“When they walk past that, I want them to say, ‘Man, that guy right there, remember they told him he wasn’t good enough and he became one of the best to ever to do it?’ So that’s the main thing,” Barkley said.

Barkley is famous for saying whatever is on his mind. He called the Sixers stupid recently but he says that was over the situation at the time.

For now, he’s picking the Sixers as the 2019-20 NBA champions.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From CBS Philadelphia

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon