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Charles Barkley called his former Philadelphia 76ers teammate the best player he ever played with

Barkley didn't pick Dr.J., Hakeem, or Moses Malone as the best player he shared a locker room with.
Former Philadelphia 76ers teammates Charles Barkley and Andrew Toney in action

Charles Barkley, Andrew Toney

While he is one of the best ever to grace the basketball court, Charles Barkley was also fortunate to have been on the same team as other great players. The list includes the likes of Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Hakeem Olajuwon. But none of those Hall of Famers has had the distinction of being the best player Barkley has played with. That title belongs to Andrew Toney.

"Wait until you see Andrew"

Barkley played with Toney from 1984 to 1988. Together, they helped the Philadelphia 76ers become title contenders. 

Prior to his time together with Sir Charles, Toney had become known as the "Boston Strangler" for his exploits against the Boston Celtics. The C's even had to acquire defensive menace Dennis Johnson in 1983 to use as a "Toney stopper."

Even years after facing him, Toney's name continued to send shivers down his opponents' spines, including Danny Ainge. And for Barkley, he had nothing but praise for his former teammate.

"Andrew Toney is the best player I ever played with," Barkley said in 1991. "When I first got to Philadelphia, everyone kept asking me, 'How's Dr. J? What's Moses like? How about Maurice Cheeks?'"

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The legendary power forward has repeated that sentiment even many years after. In 2006, when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Barkley had hoped that the late coach and scout Jack McMahon was alive to attend the ceremony. He recalled how McMahon was the reason the Sixers found him and Toney.

"He told the Sixers, 'If y'all don't draft this kid, you're going to screw up your whole future,'" Barkley told the Chicago Tribune in 2006. "He said it ... and the best player I ever played with was Andrew Toney. He found him, too."

What happened to Toney?

Toney was a 6-foot-3 phenom who started his NBA career as a sixth man for the Sixers. It took two seasons before he became part of the starting unit. But when he did, he immediately became an All-Star, playing for the Eastern Conference selection in the 1983 edition of the midseason showcase. The Sixers also won the championship that year, with Toney showing his ability again to go toe to toe even against the likes of Larry Bird.

It appears that his favorite opponents to mess around with were the Celtics, as his most impressive performances had come against the Sixers' conference rivals in the early 1980s.

What was probably impressive about Toney's game was his ability to score efficiently. He had a career average of 15.9 points per game on a 50.0% shooting clip. Perhaps if he didn't play in the shadow of some of the sport's biggest stars, he would've scored a lot more.

Unfortunately, the two-time All-Star is also one of the league's biggest what-ifs. His career was cut short because of chronic foot injuries. He had a bitter falling out with the Sixers, as the organization continued pushing him to play even though he was hurt. The team doctors had found nothing wrong with him physically. As it turned out, though, Toney was revealed to have suffered from stress fractures on both his feet.

The reclusive star eventually left the league in 1988 at the age of 30. Toney never set foot again in the Sixers arena until 2012. Fans are hoping to see his jersey up in the arena's rafters.

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