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“I have Charles Barkley’s attitude, and my inside game is as powerful as his and Karl Malone’s” — when an NBA rookie boasted about his game

In 1993, Rodney Rogers generated quite a buzz when he claimed that he was a better version of Charles Barkley and Karl Malone.
Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone and Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley

Karl Malone and Charles Barkley

Most modern-day NBA fans may have never heard of Rodney Rogers and what he was known for during his playing years. While Rogers isn’t that big of a name in the NBA, being considered by some as the Zion Williamson of the 90s should be enough to make the former Wake Forest star an exciting player. Indeed, Rogers got fans and the media buzzing when he boasted about his game coming into the league back in 1993.

Big boy doing his thing

Drafted by the Denver Nuggets as their No. 9 overall pick in the 1993 Draft, Rogers, who reportedly weighed 235lbs, captured the attention of hoops fans when he compared his overall qualities to that of Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. To be specific, Rogers even claimed he was “better than both” perennial NBA All-stars as his outside game was exceptional.

I have Charles Barkely’s attitude, and my inside game is as powerful as his and [Karl] Malone’s,” Rogers said via Ball Is Life. “I’ve got a great outside shot – better than both those guys. I’m ready for them. I fear no one, and if someone doesn’t fear me, they will.

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As it turned out, the 6-foot-7 stocky combo forward never reached the same footing as Barkley and Malone, but he was no joke on the court. For the better part of his NBA career, Rogers made quite a name for being one of the best off-the-bench players of his generation. And in 2000, he finally copped the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

From athletic to quadriplegic

Ultimately, Rogers was known for being a scoring bruiser. In fact, his former teammate Jason Kidd once said, “he was kind of your bodyguard. [I] would look at him and he does look like a bodyguard.” As a bodyguard, Rogers must have been really tough. Unfortunately, not tough enough to avoid serious consequences after a tragic accident.

In 2008, Rogers, who had developed a fascination with outdoor bikes during his post-NBA career, got involved in a dirt bike accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

The accident changed Rogers' life, and in just a blink of an eye, the once athletic NBA star is now a quadriplegic.

I hope and pray that in the near future, I’ll get my arms back, and then hopefully my legs. If I had to walk with a cane or something, that’d be fine. I just want to be able to walk again.

Rogers’ story is saddening indeed. Nevertheless, people close to him still see Rogers as the tough and a bit overconfident guy who once made waves in the NBA.


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