Sir Charles, Chuckles, the Round Mound of Rebound, Sir Cumference…it takes a man of many talents to earn so many nicknames. Perhaps best known for his quotability and his direct persona, Chuck has also kept busy with various outside projects throughout the years. Below are our top five.
5. His Footrace with Dick Bavetta
An off the cuff comment to Marv Albert led to a matchup for the ages. Upon being told by his Inside the NBA co-host that 67-year-old ref Dick Bavetta could beat him in a footrace, Sir Charles had no choice but to challenge his striped-shirted friend. The resulting contest is one of the best things ever to happen at an NBA All Star Game. Plus, in Chuck’s words, the race raised “two hands of blackjack” ($100k) for charity.
4. His Appearances in Video Games
The early ’90s were a great time for sports video games, and Barkley countered the successes of NBA Jam and Shaq Fu by lending his image and name to Barkley: Shut Up and Jam on the Sega Genesis. The game itself is okay, not exactly a hidden gem, but it distinguished itself by helping to inspire Barkley, Shut and Jam: Gaiden, a cultural milestone that comes pretty close to encapsulating the Barkley mystique. In this gritty example of video game verité, Sir Charles plays himself in a post-apocalyptic world where basketball has been outlawed, and fights alongside other b-ball legends to right the wrongs of the past.
3. His 1-v-1 Game Against Godzilla
A lot of people don’t remember that this happened. In a classic matchup of size versus skill, Charles took apart Japan’s tallest on behalf of an Oregon-based footwear concern. Barkley was characteristically blunt after the game, saying of his opponent that “just because he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he can play,” and that if he was in the NBA “he’d probably be the center.” Now that Godzilla is back in American pop culture (Chuck never left) the time is ripe for a rematch.
2. His Saturday Night Live Appearances
Of all the athletes who have hosted Saturday Night Live, Chuck is the only one to have done so more than once. He might not be Alec Baldwin or Christopher Walken, but if you’re a Chuck fan he comes pretty close. His characters have included a woman named Joann, the Mayan warrior Tecklamek, adult star Dong Corleone, and the longtime butt of his jokes, Shaquille O’Neal (more on that below).
1. His Feud with Shaq