Charles Barkley is one of the most legendary figures in the NBA. Despite never winning an NBA championship in his career, Barkley is considered one of the all-time greats and one of the most underrated superstars of his generation.
Despite his fame in the basketball world as an analyst, it was his career that established himself as a name to remember in the basketball world. He won the MVP in 1993, over Michael Jordan, an accolade he feels he deserved more than Jordan that year. Unlike most NBA legends, Barkley is not a featured member of the popular NBA 2K franchise.
Most retired players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal among others are present in the game as MyTeam players and part of All-Time squads in the game for different franchises. But Barkley notably is not in the game as a part of either.
Barkley has his reasons for not being part of the game. In the past, Barkley has revealed that he doesn't like the fact the NBA 2K series makes a lot of money but poorly compensates the legends featured in the game.
“I’m asked that question a lot. So, they pay those guys to do it and they make 300 million dollars and they pay the guys chump change. And I’m like nah, I’m not doing that. I said this is what I’ll do, because giving me some money doesn’t help anybody. I said give the old retired players a million dollars and I’ll be in the video game. They’re like, well, we’re gonna pay you the same thing we pay others, and I said I’m not like the others. They piss me off every year. They call me every year and say ‘hey, have you changed your mind?’ Why in the world would you think I’m gonna change my mind?”
Most of the legends in the game didn't get to earn big contracts in the NBA, playing in an era when the league was not as lucrative as it is now. He wants the legends included in the game to be better compensated and hasn't changed his stance despite repeated inquires.
Many younger fans never got the opportunity to see Barkley in his prime. Most know him today as one of the panelists of 'Inside The NBA' on TNT, alongside fellow NBA legends Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. But Barkley's greatness, even though it isn't captured in the NBA 2K series, cannot be understated.