Charles Barkley by no means forgets the place he got here from | 60 Minutes


On the basketball courtroom, Charles Barkley was referred to as an undersized rebounding power, 11-time NBA All-Star, and Corridor of Fame participant. Nonetheless, his greatest transfer might not have come within the submit however submit his 16-year enjoying profession the place his outsized persona has made him one of the recognizable sports activities analysts on TV. Barkley calls dwell TV “essentially the most harmful factor on the earth,” and his blunt candor is a central a part of his model. When 60 Minutes profiled him for Sunday’s broadcast, correspondent Jon Wertheim requested Barkley why individuals tune in to listen to what he has to say.”I feel they know that I will be sincere, I will be truthful, I haven’t got a hidden agenda,” Barkley mentioned to Wertheim. “[There’s] not many individuals on TV that you could say that about.”

The 60 Minutes’ crew adopted Barkley to a taping of “Contained in the NBA,” the place he has labored as an everyday studio analyst since 2000. However to get a more true sense of the person, Wertheim additionally visited Barkley in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama, the place he recalled rising up poor. “We needed to pool our cash. So I bought one pair of footwear [a season], Barkley instructed Wertheim. “My mother introduced them to the sport, and proper after the sport she knocked on the door and took them residence. I might solely put on them in the course of the season as a result of they needed to final me.”

Jon Wertheim and Charles Barkley stroll by way of Barkley’s hometown of Leeds, Alabama the place he nonetheless retains a house.

Matthew Magratten/60 Minutes

One pair of sneakers a season became a pair per week when Barkley was drafted into the NBA and Nike got here calling. 

“I used to be like, ‘That is wonderful…Wait, y’all are going to pay me too?'” Barkley recalled with amusing. “I mentioned, ‘That is the best job on the earth. Y’all are going to present me a pair of sneakers per week and y’all are going to pay me?'”Regardless of the sneaker stipend, numerous accolades, and sizable paychecks each throughout and after his enjoying days, Barkley has by no means forgotten his roots. At age 60, he is a frequent philanthropist and has donated tens of millions of {dollars} in help of upper training and school scholarships for Leeds college students. “The best way I give cash away is, I wish to attempt to assist individuals achieve success,” Barkley instructed Wertheim. “Now all people’s not going to achieve success. All I may give them is a chance to achieve success.”Success for Barkley got here throughout his senior yr at Leeds Excessive College after a 6-inch development spurt modified his life. 

“His inventory on the school basketball market has risen astronomically,” Rubin Grant wrote within the Birmingham Put up-Herald in 1981. “However only a year-and-a-half in the past, brokers would have suggested to not purchase. Dangerous threat. Cannot convey any dividends.That was when Charles Barkley was – by his personal admission – quick and fats at 5 foot, 11 inches, attempting to make the Leeds Inexperienced Wave varsity crew earlier than his junior season. He was too sluggish to play guard and too quick to play ahead.Forty years later, Barkley and his buddies from Leeds nonetheless collect to relive the tales of yesteryear. With Jon Wertheim becoming a member of them on a February afternoon, the group recalled a 1980 highschool match-up between Barkley and future College of Alabama star Bobby Lee Damage.

Charles Barkley and his hometown buddies gathered in February, recalling their highschool days.

60 Minutes

“That was truly the turning level in my highschool profession,” Barkley mentioned. “We performed in opposition to the most effective highschool participant within the nation [Bobby Lee Hurt] within the Minor Christmas Match. And at that time, I had by no means gotten a letter from a significant college. That is Christmas of my senior yr. It is, like, ‘He is too quick. He’ll need to go to junior school or a smaller stage college.'”Barkley’s buddies recalled a packed crowd witnessed his 24 factors, 20 rebounds and 5 blocked pictures. Leeds received 74-72 and the doubters grew to become believers. Months later, Barkley dedicated to Auburn College, the place he performed three seasons earlier than the Philadelphia 76ers took him within the first spherical of the 1984 NBA Draft. 

Charles Barkley (middle) received an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as a part of the Dream Workforce.

Getty Photographs

Charles Barkley’s enjoying profession included an MVP award and a pair of gold medals. His broadcasting profession has earned him 4 Emmys for his work as analyst. However when Jon Wertheim requested Barkley about his successes, he wasn’t prepared to take all of the credit score.”I bought picked to be Charles Barkley,” the 60-year-old mentioned. “I simply bought fortunate and blessed with an excellent physique. Once I’m at a resort, these individuals who clear lodges work thrice as onerous as me and some other jock on the earth. We simply bought the fortunate straw. And when you suppose I am higher or I work more durable, you are simply silly.”

Barkley shared with Wertheim that he believes the true measure of success comes from the legacies we depart behind.”There’s two issues which are necessary: primary, you wish to make your mother and father proud. And the second factor is, whenever you die, you don’t need them saying, ‘I am glad that SOB’s gone,'” Barkley instructed Wertheim. “I would like them to say, ‘Man, I will miss Charles.'”You may watch Jon Wertheim’s full profile of Charles Barkley beneath.

Charles Barkley: The 60 Minutes Interview


The video on the prime was produced by Keith Zubrow and edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.



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