Skip to main content

Charles Barkley retired on his own terms


On December 8, 1999, Charles Barkley ruptured a tendon in his knee 10 minutes 51 seconds into his last game in Philadelphia. With his knee wrapped in ice, Chuck sat on a training table in the Rockets' locker room and began to cry as he talked to his wife on the phone.

It's over.

Charles Barkley, The Washington Post

Just like that, a 16-year all-time great NBA run came to an end. Instead of playing the season out and hanging it up on his own terms, Charles went down with an injury that required surgery and a six-month-long recovery process before he could get back on the floor. For a 36-year-old NBA veteran, that seemed like too much, and Chuck came to terms that his career would end the same place it started. The only thing is, he didn't.

I didn't want to be carried off the court my last game.

Charles Barkley

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Fast forward six months, the Rockets were facing the Vancouver Grizzlies in the regular-season finale. With 7:26 to go in the second quarter, a 6-4 Round Mound of Rebound checked into a game. He had made it through the recovery and wanted to make one last impact on the game he had played since he was nine years old.

After two missed shots, with 1:24 left until half time, Barkley grabbed an offensive rebound and got his name in the scoring column for one final time. It got him a standing ovation, as Rudy Tomjanovich took Charles out of the game seconds after scoring his last NBA points. He left the floor smiling, finishing with six minutes of playing time, two points, one rebound, one assist, and a blocked shot. But more importantly, finishing on his own terms.

This is a sad day for me, I've been playing basketball since I was nine years old and now I'm not going to be playing anymore. That's the only thing that makes me sad.

Charles Barkley, ESPN

For all the times he was called lazy, Chuck showed the heart of a champion by going through all the trouble he went through just to walk off the court on his own. That's the type of closure he wanted, and that's the type of closure he got. And after the career he had, it's the least Charles Barkley deserved.

Grant Hill recalls competing against the original Dream Team

Grant Hill recalls beating the original Dream Team in a scrimmage game: "We already knew that no one would believe us if we told them"

Grant Hill reflects what it meant for him and other college players when they actually beat the original Dream Team before the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in a scrimmage game

WWE star Logan Paul and Dwight Howard

WWE legend Triple H’s dare to Dwight Howard: “Be like Logan Paul, Bad Bunny, Tyson Fury”

Dwight Howard doesn't just want to be a run-of-the-mill professional wrestler.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett

"I’m still a Timberwolf until I die, as I am a Celtic" - Kevin Garnett addresses rift with Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett is not in good terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves but his love for the city has never changed.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love

"It's a way to really challenge yourself" — Kevin Love talks about the hardest workout he's ever done

Kevin Love revealed the hardest workout he has ever done and it doesn't have anything to do with basketball.

BYU Cougars guard Jimmer Fredette shoots over San Diego State Aztecs forward Kawhi Leonard

“He said some things” — Jimmer Fredette on Kawhi Leonard's trash talk

En route to a 72-54 win, Kawhi Leonard approached Jimmer Fredette and talked smack to him.


Boban Marjanovic doesn't think LeBron James is "the strongest player" in the league: 'It depends on what you measure'

Boban Marjanovic thinks it's impossible to hail LeBron James or anybody as the strongest player in the league there are a lot of factors to consider in measuring strength.

Yao Ming & Steve Francis

"It was me who was bothered by it" - Steve Francis on Yao Ming's transition to NBA

Steve Francis thought Yao Ming will succumb to the pressures of being an NBA star, but he was proven wrong.


The Sixers reportedly almost drafted Kobe Bryant to team up with Allen Iverson in 1996

Drafting Kobe and AI in the same draft would've been the best draft a team had in NBA history.