After being ejected from the game in his debut with the Houston Rockets, Charles Barkley had a great first impression. His outspoken personality and sense of humor is already garnering attention for the team.
Charles Barkley’s Preseason Ejection Highlighted an Impressive 1st Impression With the Houston Rockets and the Media. In his first preseason game, he showed off a lot of what made him one of the most prolific players in NBA history.
As expected, Charles Barkley joined the Houston Rockets. When he came in Houston before to the 1996-97 NBA season, the former Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns player was his typical opinionated self. With his expulsion in the last preseason game, he created quite an impact even before the regular season began.
Before the regular season started, Charles Barkley was ejected.
On February 19, 1999, during a game against the Detroit Pistons at Compaq Center in Houston, Texas, Charles Barkley of the Houston Rockets lies over the scorer’s table. | Getty Images/Sporting News courtesy of Getty Images
When the Rockets moved Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, Mark Bryant, and Chucky Brown to the Suns following the 1995-96 season, Barkley brought some buzz to Houston. The combination of him, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Clyde Drexler was thrilling, and it provided the team a boost in their quest for another NBA championship. In 1994 and 1995, Houston won titles.
Barkley played three minutes in the last preseason game of the 1995-96 season. It wasn’t on purpose. After a brawl with Charles Oakley of the New York Knicks, he was ejected from the game. Barkley’s teammate Kevin Willis and New York’s Patrick Ewing were both ejected for fighting after the incident.
According to Sports Illustrated, Barkley remarked after the game, “That’s the quickest I’ve ever been dismissed.” “I wasn’t even there long enough to irritate anyone.”
Barkley said he had no choice but to throw a punch, which resulted in a one-game ban. Oakley, he said, had committed a blatant foul.
“I’m going to lose what little respect I have for this league if they penalize both of us the same way,” Barkley added.
For the record, Barkley was banned for the season opening and fined $5,000 by the NBA. Oakley was fined $10,000 and was suspended for two games.
Barkley has always been a dream come true for reporters. He was the kind of person who always told it like it was. When he was with the Rockets, this was true. The presence of Barkley in Houston drew a swarm of local reporters to the Summit. Even during the last preseason game, reporters were everywhere.
Not everywhere, to be sure. Rudy Tomjanovich, the Rockets’ coach, held a postgame news conference in front of three media. According to Sports Illustrated, there were five or six rows of empty seats in front of him. To the three authors, Tomjanovich remarked, “Very weird.”
Meanwhile, Barkley was besieged by the media. Kneeling at his feet were TV broadcasters. Barkley put on a show in the locker room, as he always does.
One Houston reporter remarked, “This is the easiest job I’ve ever had.” “I simply jot down whatever he says.”
He wrapped out the press conference with a jab at the game’s two fights.
Barkley approached Willis and said, “Hey, Kevin.” “Patrick Ewing is in the hallway,” says the narrator. He’s looking forward to seeing you.”
After eight years with the Philadelphia 76ers, Barkley wanted a change.
Barkley was a coveted rookie when he joined the NBA in 1984, and he played like one. Barkley, the fifth overall selection in the 1984 NBA Draft, averaged 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds in eight seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was fed up with the organization’s actions. Moses Malone’s trade broke his heart, and he wasn’t pleased with how the team’s ownership handled its players.
Barkley told Sports Illustrated in the midst of his last season with the Sixers, “(Owner Harold Katz) does stuff I don’t like.” “I don’t agree with how he handled Rick” (Mahorn). They left a message for him to contact the Sixers on his answering machine (last year). ‘Rick, we’re going to free you,’ they said when he phoned. Hey, they can come to his home or he can come to theirs and inform him face to face. Rick was heartbroken.
“Then there was the incident with Maurice Cheeks. ‘Well, how do you feel about the trade?’ a TV man asks Maurice, who replies, ‘What trade?’ ‘You’ve been traded to New York,’ says the man. And tears welled up in his eyes. That is something I will never forget. Every day, it breaks my heart. They treat him like way despite the fact that he has been one of the greatest point guards in basketball for the last ten years. That is ludicrous.”
Barkley moved on to the Suns, where he won the league MVP award while leading Phoenix to the NBA Finals in 1993. Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, he was an NBA All-Star 11 times.
Throughout his NBA career, Barkley remained consistent. Even during the preseason, this isn’t the case.
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