Charles Barkley is one of the most iconic NBA players in history. Barkley was part of the 1984 NBA Draft class, one of the greatest in history. He played for the 76ers, the Suns, and the Rockets. And while he never was able to win an NBA championship, his greatness was truly a thing to behold.
Barkley was a fierce competitor, one who would not back down from anyone or anything. And when he put his mind to something, he would go to any lengths to make sure that his goal came to fruition. But those goals weren’t always the safest, as legendary Jazz point guard John Stockton came to find out the hard way.
During a playoff series between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz, Charles Barkley got incredibly frustrated with John Stockton. Stockton was setting moving screens for Barkley but wasn’t being called for it. In his frustration, Barkley became increasingly more physical with Stockton. But according to Chuck himself, he had slightly more sinister intentions (slide 2).
During a post-game press conference, Charles Barkley was asked about the increased physicality he was subjecting John Stockton to. Barkley noted that since the referees were not calling Stockton for his illegal screens, he had to take matters into his own hand, and wanted to cause significant physical damage.
“Obviously the refs aren’t going to do their job, they’re going to let him set moving picks. So I was trying to separate his shoulder or break his ribs.”
When the room full of reporters laughed at his comments, Chuck reiterated that he was being serious. Stockton had done a good job of getting under Barkley’s skin. Stockton was able to get revenge on Barkley for the increased violence when he hit the game and series-winning shot for the Jazz right in front of Barkley.
The former ‘Dream Team’ teammates clearly went to battle, and it was a perfect example of playoff basketball at its most intense. Barkley has had similar encounters with other players. He famously once slammed the referee for not calling a foul on Michael Jordan during a game.
The Jazz got the win and went on to reach the NBA Finals, where they would fall short to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. If nothing else, both Stockton and Barkley can relate to the experience of being inches away from the NBA championship, only for it to be taken away by the greatest player in NBA history.