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Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame 2020-21: Charles Barkley, the Voice of the NBA Player

30/11/2021

Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame 2020-21: Charles Barkley, the Voice of the NBA Player By Kristian Hern ndez, Associate Editor

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 7:00 am

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In a ceremony postponed by the pandemic, the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be inducted on Dec. 14 at the New York Hilton. SVG is profiling the nine inductees in the weeks prior. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Many sports fans know Charles Barkley's manifold nicknames: Sir Charles, the Chuckster, the Round Mound of Rebound. Now they have a new one to learn: Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer.

An unabashed analyst on one of the most successful studio shows in the history of sports entertainment, Inside the NBA, Barkley is always willing to discuss any topic at any time and go toe-to-toe with anyone in the business. His brutal honesty has provided unfettered insights into the psyche of a professional basketball player and a character who plays by his own set of rules.

There is no one like Charles, says Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels. There never will be. He is one of the most influential figures in sports history, with a personality and voice that transcend the entire media industry.

Long before gracing the masses with his on-air persona, Barkley made his way through the high school basketball ranks in Leeds, AL. Having nabbed a starting spot on the varsity team his senior year, he blossomed into a player who averaged 19.1 points and 17.9 rebounds per game. His efforts led the Leeds High School Green Wave to a 26-3 record in 1981 and the program's fourth appearance in the state tournament.

His stellar play didn't garner attention from collegiate coaches, but his luck would change in the state semifinals vs. Huntsville's S.R. Butler High School. Going against the top-ranked recruit in Alabama, McDonald's All-America and future NBA sixth-round pick Bobby Lee Hurt, Barkley dropped 26 points and attracted the notice of Auburn University Assistant Coach Charles H. Smith.

During his time with the orange and blue, Barkley ascended to elite-level player, winning the 1984 SEC Player of the Year Award and 1984 SEC Tournament MVP, holding the school record for field-goal percentage at 64.4%, and being named to the All-SEC First Team in 1984 and All-SEC Second Team in 1982 and 1983. The university retired his No. 34 in 2001, making him one of only six players to have their jersey hang in the Auburn Arena rafters in the program's 116-year history.

Barkley was once an overlooked short and stocky kid from Leeds, but NBA scouts clamored for his instinctual feel for the game and his bulldog tenacity. The Philadelphia 76ers won the sweepstakes and drafted him with the fifth overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Over his 16-year professional career, he racked up countless accolades, including 11 All-Star appearances, back-to-back Olympic gold medals with the 1992 Dream Team in Atlanta and in 1996 in Barcelona, 1993NBA MVP, and the rebounding title in 1988. He was one of six players with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists; his No. 34 was retired by the 76ers, and he was included in the Phoenix Suns' Ring of Honor. He was selected for the NBA 50th-Anniversary Team in 1996 and NBA 75th-Anniversary Team in 2021. His playing days culminated with enshrinement in both the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

When he decided to hang up his shoes and retire from the professional game, folks in the NBA knew that Barkley wouldn't stay away too long.

With a larger-than-life personality and unique perspective on the game, says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Charles has endeared himself to generations of NBA fans as he did throughout his Hall of Fame playing career. Charles is one of the smartest, most entertaining, and influential commentators in all of sports.

After retirement, Barkley joined the 12-year-old Inside the NBA and launched his second act as one of the most beloved - and, at times, most controversial - figures in 20th century sports television. At the time, Turner Sports as a whole was coming of age on the sports scene, and, with the show's dynamic in the early stages nurtured by Ernie Johnson and Kenny The Jet Smith, Barkley began moving the needle with his often-out-of-bounds sense of humor.

The free-wheeling format at TNT allowed him to be Charles, notes Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer and legendary sportscaster Bob Costa. He gets away with saying things that would get other people in trouble or gets to do what he wouldn't be able to do anywhere else.

As the show picked up steam throughout the mid to late 2000s, Barkley found his niche: part class clown and part basketball genius. Soon enough, serving up knowledgeable information about a certain play or game alongside a hilarious joke was working well with the fanbase.

We asked for your favorite moments from Inside the NBA & you replied with some classics Chuck's steam room bracelet story never gets old.

Tweet us your favorite moments & we'll post out the best ones every Thursday! pic.twitter.com/pOaqDHpN3U

- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 26, 2020

He would've been a viral sensation, says Albert Scooter Vertino, SVP, programming, Turner Sports, but we didn't have the technology back then. I used to talk about how he was kind of like our King Midas: whatever he spoke about turned to gold.

The viral moments were bountiful, but today social media has a field day with his playful antics. For instance, the four-time Sports Emmy Award-winner guaranteed that the Brooklyn Nets would sweep the Boston Celtics in the 2021 NBA Eastern Conference First Round after a Nets 130-108 win in Game 2. The Celtics went on to win Game 3, 125-119, to avoid th
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/11/30/sports-broadcasting-hall-of-fam...
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