Charles Barkley is widely regarded as one of the greatest big men in NBA history. Over his 16-year career, he earned 11 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA appearances, and an MVP in 1993.
The one glaring blemish on his resume is his postseason record, which does not include championships. To this day, his failure to capture a title holds him back from being considered in the same air as guys like MJ, Magic, and Duncan.
Still, one has to think that if Barkley had the talent MJ did with his Bulls teams, he would have had at least a few rings.
In an old appearance on Oprah, he explained:
“If I get the rest of the guys laughing at him, he would always bring up the ‘How many rings you got?‘. He always throws that one at me. I mean I wasn’t lucky enough to play with Scottie Pippen”. While the audience had a good laugh about this statement, Michael may have missed it, so he looked confused. Therefore, Barkley rephrased “If I had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, I would’ve won something too. I love my teammates, but they weren’t as good as Scottie and Dennis.”
It's hard to deny that Chuck would have been more successful with teammates like Pippen and Rodman. In fact, their talent and contributions often get overlooked when talking about Michael Jordan's career.
Unfortunately, Barkley didn't have that luxury and was never able to reach the pinnacle of basketball success.
Apparently, it all evens out though because MJ believes Barkley robbed him of an MVP in 1993.
"No. 1, he didn’t deserve it. We had the best record in the NBA. Michael should know better. There were years he was the best player in the NBA probably three years before he won MVP, but the Bulls team was no good. The MVP has always gone to the best player on the team with the best record. It has nothing to do with best player.”
Needless to say, there will always be a sense of 'what-if' when it comes to these two players. As bitter rivals back in the day, they had their fair share of battles and it's only natural that they still think about each other today.
But props to both of them for making the best out of their situation.