Charles Barkley’s time with Philadelphia 76ers: The story behind his statue

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Malone’s impact on Barkley

Every time Barkley mentions who impacted him the most, Moses Malone is the name brought up. With Barkley failing to crack the starting lineup at the beginning of his rookie season. Barkley couldn’t help but to wonder why, until he asked Malone.

"“You’re fat and lazy, that’s why. You can’t play basketball if you’re not in shape,” Malone said."

Fortunately for Barkley, he didn’t take it negatively. What Malone said was a catalyst for change for the young Barkley. Barkley became more serious about his body — he started eating healthier and trained a lot harder — and was finally able to crack the starting lineup.

More from History

Malone wasn’t his greatest mentor just because he called him fat and lazy. Malone trained with Barkley and was by his side the whole time. If Malone weren’t around who knows how Barkley’s career would’ve turned out.

Barkley had a rather impressive first season. Despite not being a regular starter until after 15 games into his rookie year, Barkley put up a 14/8.6/1.9 stat line in the season of 1984-85 and made All-Rookie first team alongside Michael Jordan.

Now a regular starter, Barkley improved to a 20/12.8/3.9 stat line in his second season in 1985-86. Barkley made All-NBA second team and slowly started to ascend as the team’s second-best player behind his mentor, Malone. But Barkley wouldn’t be the second-best player for long.

Barkley only ended up playing two seasons with Malone, Moses Malone would end up being traded to the Washington Bullets due to salary cap reasons. It became known as one of the more disastrous trades in NBA history.