We often like to compare the greats of the game head to head, but the players themselves are probably the only ones that can give us the inside scoop and realistic perspective on why one guy is better than the other. So when Dan Patrick started throwing names at Charles Barkley a few years ago, asking if he is better than them, we got some interesting answers.
Back in 2017, Charles Barkley made one of his few guest appearances on The Dan Patrick Show. Like always, the two had some great, funny, and interesting conversations about the golden era of basketball.
Dan mentioned how Barkley led all scores in the "Dream Team" and wanted to know if he feels like the best player out of the great bunch. Dan being the instigator he is, started questioning Barkley if he is better than specific players.
Fair enough, Charles admitted guys like MJ, LeBron, Duncan, and Magic are better players than him. But when Larry Bird's name came up, Barkley started debating his case:
"Am I better than Bird? Man, that's a great question. I'm a better rebounder. I'm probably a better defender. He's a better shooter, obviously...It's a team game...I do things better than him. If you give me Parish, McHale, and DJ imma be alright."
Charles Barkley, The Dan Patrick Show
Although Charles is a legend and one of the best power forwards of all time, it's hard to say he is better than Larry Bird. Both of them have numerous individual achievements to their names, but where Bird sets himself apart is the team success and the three championships.
But even if you look at the eye test, it's hard to take Charles over Larry. After all, Bird could do it all on the court and dominate in various ways. To be fair, Barkley was also very versatile, but not as much as Larry. Also, Charles tried to make a case for Bird being on much better teams than him, which made him look better.
Barkley wasn't on too many great teams outside of Phoenix, and he himself said that made him the best version of himself, rather than posting up individual numbers in Philadelphia. If he had the chance to be on the 80s Celtics, Barkley would definitely have more team success, but it's hard to imagine he would have done what Bird did in his heyday.
Charles's pride wouldn't let him admit, Larry is the better player, but that is normal for any competitor. He didn't bash in any way Larry's game or say anything disrespectful. After all, if Charles himself won't make a case for himself, then who will.