Skip to main content

"He didn't like me because he's a d*ck" Charles Barkley on why he was cut from the '84 Olympic team


The one that sticks out is Charles Barkley,’ said Oklahoma’s Tisdale. ‘The way he’s able to move around 284 pounds like a guard is amazing.’ Chuck being one of the best players during the ’84 U.S. basketball Olympic trials in Bloomington, was a consensus. So why didn’t he make the cut?

“I probably should’ve made the team. Bobby Knight just didn’t like me. He didn’t like me because he’s a d*ck.”

Charles Barkley, The Ringer

Knight and Barkley going at each other was a daily occurrence during the trials. It was a particular approach to the game that Knight demanded from his players that the Round Mound of Rebound failed to meet. The General imposed his militaristic style on the group of 71 players competing for a 12-man USA roster, creating a brutal selection process. Throughout it, Barkley simply outmatched everyone who stood in his way, having his competence postpone the inevitable – he simply didn’t fit the way the legendary coach envisioned the game.

“Let me tell you something you fat s.o.b., there is only one leader in this army.”

Bobby Knight, Deseret News

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The authoritarian persona of Bobby Knight wanted things done his way, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. There was only one way to make the roster, and it was to work your ass off and be precise in doing so. Charles regularly coming late to practices and having a passive approach to the game rubbed the General the wrong way.

“The word interesting‘ is a good word to apply to Barkley. He’s an extremely talented player. He’s got to become a much better defensive player. He has to work at sharpening what he does. If he can, he has an excellent chance. If he can’t, he’s not going to make the team.”

Bobby Knight, Chicago Tribune

Chuck couldn’t, and he was cut from the roster. Knight cited his ‘poor defense’ as the reason for Barkley not making the roster, but that’s just a superficial rationalization of his decision. It was about chemistry and potential issues keeping Chuck on the team would’ve created.

Being the man pulling strings, Knight decided to get rid of the guy with who he’s been going back and forth for the entirety of trials. It was a complicated dynamic, and Bobby saw its escalation as inevitable. So he did what he had to do – he controlled the controllable. Knight – the person of principles – sure wasn’t going to back down, so he got rid of the potential chemistry disruptor.

Now, Chuck saying Knight didn’t like him – I see that. Was it personal or not – it’s hard to say. But basketball approach-wise, he hated him. When there’s a clear hierarchical order, that’s the last thing you want to do – resent the guy in charge. And that’s exactly what Barkley did. There simply was no way around it.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan in action against the Boston Celtics

“They never won the championship when they had 28 teams and so much parity in the league” - Michael Jordan once dissed the Boston Celtics’ early championships

While the C's are always praised for being a historic franchise and having the most championships many, including Michael Jordan, feel there's a caveat in regards to their achievements.

(11) Dwight Howard, (10) Kobe Bryant, (6) LeBron James and (5)Jason Kidd react on the bench

"They're totally different as far as their personalities" - Dwight Howard on the biggest differences between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

According to DH12, one preferred to be straightforward and quiet, while the other was the type to blast music and let his work do the talking.

LeBron James

LeBron James calls out the media for their treatment of Kyrie Irving compared to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones - "I was kind of disappointed"

LeBron calls out the media for having double standards when reporting about Kyrie Irving and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (right) and teammate Stephen Jackson (3) talk to each other

“How are we gonna explain this to Pop?” - How a bloody paintball match almost got Stephen Jackson and Tim Duncan in deep trouble

Fortunately, a busted lip was all the penalty Stephen Jackson had to endure for not following Gregg Popovich's instructions.

Houston Rockets' big man Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson

"We were the original 'Twin Towers'” - Ralph Samson on playing with Hakeem Olajuwon in the Houston Rockets

Ralph Sampson looked back at his legacy with Hakeem Olajuwon as the original "Twin Towers."