Leaning into opponents when shooting, asking for a foul after the slightest touch, constant complaining… At times it just doesn’t look like a grown man’s game.
Of course, the game itself has changed – moving away from the paint so the offense can have a lot more breathing room and scoring opportunities. We’re living in an offensively driven NBA era that is faster, more skilled, and more finessed than it was thirty or forty years ago. It can be fun to watch those Kyrie Irving or James Harden flashy handles and drives to the lane; however, we would appreciate them even more if some hard-playing defense confronted them.
When you think about the league’s overall toughness thirty or more years ago, it’s hard to make comparisons with the modern NBA. Consider the calls the players are getting in the NBA today and compare them to the ’80s or the ’90s; you would think that you’re watching a totally different sport. Some of the toughest players that stepped on the basketball court came from that time. One of them was, without a doubt, Charles Barkley.
Chuck has never seen a challenge he didn’t like, and he never backed down from anyone. He was one of the enforcers. Oh, and Chuck’s fights reels are longer than some of today’s players’ NBA highlights. Here are his five most notable on-court fights.