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Julius Erving and Moses Malone once took Charles Barkley on a $25,000 shopping spree

According to Charles Barkley, the best lesson Dr.J taught him was how to act like a responsible superstar
Julius Erving and Moses Malone once took Charles Barkley on a $25,000 shopping spree

Charles Barkley said Dr. J advised him in his rookie year to ditch the cheesy warm-up suits that the former was so fond of wearing when he first arrived in the league

The NBA has always been a brotherhood league. From Bill Russel mentoring Julius Erving (Dr. J) to the latter eventually doing the same to superstars like Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Michael Jordan, it’s always a delight to hear stories about how one legend passed the tradition to another.

A shopping appointment with Dr. J

On Jackie MacMullan’s podcast entitled “Icon’s Club,” Barkley shared a hilarious story on how Dr. J advised him in his rookie year to ditch the cheesy warm-up suits that the former was so fond of wearing when he first arrived in the league. Barkley, who was Dr.J’s mentee when he first arrived with the Philadelphia 76ers, was in it for a shock when Dr.J took him shopping around fancy clothing establishments in the city.

“They say, ‘We’re taking you shopping,’” Barkley recalls, “They took me to Boards store. And I spent like $25,000. I was like, ‘Are y’all crazy?’ Because I ain’t never made any money in my life. They buy me about 10 to 15 suits and the bill was like $25,000. When I got the bill, I was like, ‘Man, y’all are crazy.’ And I remember calling my agent and my mom and grandma, ‘I spent $25,000 today, y’all.’ And my grandmother says, ‘I never made that much money in my life.’ And it was so funny, but they were right. This is professional basketball, you can’t walk around in sweats,” Barkley told MacMullan.

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Dr.J made sure Barkley realized that the NBA was a man’s league, and gone were the days when he could turn up in the arena wearing comfortable clothing. Considering that this is a tradition still practiced today (just look at Russell Westbrook’s fit over the years), Dr.J did a stellar job of being a big brother to Barkley.

The responsibility of being a superstar

Aside from the importance of dressing himself up as a professional, Dr.J also assisted Barkley with some advice on how to handle the media and criticisms that come with being a superstar.

According to Barkley, the best lesson Dr.J taught him was how to act like a responsible superstar and be a leader for his team because, after all, with great power comes great responsibility.

“The number one thing he taught me, ‘You a star. You’re a superstar. Make sure these other guys feel important,’” Barkley says. “‘Number one, you’re going to get all the blame,’ which is 100 percent correct. And he says, ‘You’re going to get really almost all the credit. You’re kind of an amateur psychologist.’ He says, ‘You’ve got to make those guys feel special cause number one you’re getting all the credit—hey, when you all go to dinner, you grab the check. Every holiday, if a guy’s stuck in town, you make sure they come to your house.,” Barkley shared.

It’s good to know that these practices are still relevant with most superstars in the league today. Look at how LeBron James has set an example for his teammates throughout his career. He has hosted multiple team-building trips before the season starts in Las Vegas. James and his co-superstars also pay the bill whenever they dine out as a team.

Although it may come in simple gestures, some practices have been passed on from one generation to another and fully encapsulates the close brotherhood that Dr.J and many legends have instilled in the NBA. 

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