The NBA and The Great Charles Barkley
September 7, 2006 by Benjie Cruz
It was mid 1980s when I started getting hooked with basketball, particularly the PBA. The start of Big J’s Living Legend status. Rivals were Great Taste, Hill Bros, etc.
I started to watch NBA in Late 80′s. I was able to watch a glimpse of the L.A. Lakers Finals via a feed coming in from the Subic American Base. No cable TV, No ESPN and definitely no Solar Sports. Another source of NBA Action was thru VHS-recorded games sent thru relatives in the U.S. via Balikbayan boxes.
But my regular NBA sustenance back then was thru the efforts of ball guru Quinito Henson. He brought the NBA via GMA’s, NBA on GMA. Funny how Quinito Henson analyzed the game, every detail, complete graphics, when, the featured game is a one-month old taped regular season semi-non-bearing-game. Try that now.
The part that I anticipated the most during his show was not Quinito’s Looooooong Halftime Analysis but the courtside countdown, given last minute of the show. The highlights were the highlight of his show. Those were the NBA Saturdays.
My real interest in NBA only grew by the time Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley squared-off in 1993 in one of the most thrilling NBA Finals to date. Always cheering for the underdog, I was for Sir Charles’ Phoenix Suns against MJ’s Bulls. Damn that John Paxon textbook jumpshot that sealed the victory!
From there, I was for Charles Barkley Suns and later, the Houston Rockets. In 1997, another guard, John Stockton, broke my heart when he hoisted a game winning three that sent Houston Rockets on their way home. Damn that hard rock Karl Malone pick that freed John Stockton!
Then came another Rocket Project, where he teamed-up with then role-searching Scottie Pippen and aging Hakeem. No success either.
After that, Charles Barkley game went downhill. A game that relies on power and speed, he wasn’t the same late in his career. Who is? He had a career-ending injury but did get back to play for Houston Rockets one final game in 2000 just so he can end his career proud and standing.
All careers are meant to end but Charles Barkley memories and antics will be remembered for a long time. Though Charles Barkley failed to get a ring, he will be honored this weekend in Springfield Massachusetts for his contributions in the game of Basketball. Barkley, one of a kind, a Hall Of Famer.
Magic once said, “There will never, ever, EVER be another Larry Bird”. This too, applies to Charles Barkley. There will never, ever, be another Chuck.