Newsflash, Charles Barkley doesn’t have a ring. Just watch TNT’s Inside the NBA, Shaq will be sure to mention it once or twice. It’s a single stain on otherwise Hall of Fame-worthy resume, as Chuck will forever be in a group of NBA’s greatest players without a ring.
The closest Barkley got to a championship was in ’93, when his 62-win Phoenix Suns made it to the NBA Finals, where they faced Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Led by an MVP in Charles Barkley, the Suns were ready to dethrone the Bulls, who were in a quest for their third straight title. But according to Chuck, their streak was about to stop there, because the Phoenix Suns were “destined to win a title.”
“He’s been telling me that crap, ever since he’s been here. We’re destined to win as much as he’s destined to win. I don’t think any player is going to be in a position where we are right now and think they’re going to lose. We’re here to say his destiny’s to have a long summer thinking about what he should’ve or would’ve done.”Michael Jordan
This was Michael after the Bulls came out on top 100-92 in Game 1 of the Finals. Chicago did the same in Game 2, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. Despite Jordan’s 44 points performance in Game 3, the Suns were able to narrow the series, behind their incredible team effort, when seven guys scored in double figures.
But then MJ took the matters into his own hands, dropping 55 on the Suns, and putting Chicago up 3-1. At that point, the series was pretty much over. It was only a matter of when will the Bulls close out the series.
They failed to do it in Game 5, despite MJ putting on another historic performance, dropping 41 points on .552 shooting. Charles Barkley had 24, as the Suns ran away with a 108-98 win, shifting the series back to Phoenix. However, it was more about postponing the inevitable, but Chuck the dreamer hadn’t seen it like that.
“I believe it’s our destiny to win a world championship. We’ve believed that for the last year. We didn’t care we were down 3-1. God wants us to win a world championship. I talked to him the other night.”Charles Barkley, Chicago Tribune
It turns out it wasn’t Chuck’s destiny to win after all. The Bulls closed out the series in Game 6, beating the Suns 99-98 behind John Paxson’s game-winning three with 3.9 seconds left on the clock.
With their Game 6 victory over Phoenix, the Bulls completed the three-peat, something the franchise was destined to do ever since they drafted His Airness.
As far as Chuck goes, it seems that his NBA destiny didn’t include winning a ring. And that’s ok – he’s still an all-time great.