Charles Berkley never forgets where he came from


On the basketball court, Charles Barkley was known for his low rebounding power, 11-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer. But his best move may not have been the post, but his 16-year playing career that made him one of television’s most famous sports analysts due to his oversized personality.

Barkley has called live TV “the most dangerous thing in the world,” and his candor is a core part of his brand. When he profiled him for Sunday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, correspondent John Wertheim asked Berkley why people would tune in to hear him.

“I think they know that I’m honest, that I’m fair, that I have no hidden intentions.”[There’s] Not many people can say that on TV. “

The 60 Minutes team accompanied the recording of “Inside the NBA,” where Barkley has been a regular studio analyst since 2000. Wertheim also visited Berkeley in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama to see what Berkeley really was. , where he remembered growing up poor.

“We had to pool our money, so we got a pair of shoes. [a season], Berkeley told Wertheim. “Her mother brought it to the game, knocked on the door right after the game and brought it home. I only wore it for the season because it had to last me. .”

John Wertheim and Charles Berkley walked in Berkley’s hometown of Leeds, Alabama, where he still has a home.

Matthew McGratten/60 minutes

With Barkley being drafted into the NBA and Nike calling, one pair of sneakers per season became one pair per week.

“I was like, ‘This is amazing… wait, are you guys going to pay me too?'” Barkley recalled with a laugh. Great job. Will you pay me for a pair of sneakers a week?”

Despite receiving sneaker prize money, countless accolades, and hefty paychecks both while and after playing, Barkley never forgot his roots. The 60-year-old is a frequent philanthropist and has donated millions of dollars to support higher education and college scholarships for Leeds students.

“The way I donate money is because I want to help people succeed,” Berkley told Wertheim. “Not everyone succeeds now. All I can give them is an opportunity to succeed.”

Berkley’s success came during his senior year at Leeds High School after a 6-inch boom changed his life.

Rubin Grant wrote in the Birmingham Post-Herald in 1981 that “his stock in the college basketball market has risen astronomically.” does not yield dividends.

That was when Charles Barkley was, by his own admission, 5 feet 11 inches short and fat, and was trying to make the Leeds Green Wave national team before his junior season. was too short to play a forward.

Forty years later, Berkley and his friends in Leeds still meet to relive the stories of yesteryear. With John Wertheim’s participation on the February afternoon, the group recalled a 1980 high school matchup between Berkeley and future University of Alabama star Bobby Lee Hart.

Charles Barkley and friends from his hometown got together in February to reminisce about their high school days.

60 minutes

“It was actually a turning point in my high school career,” Berkley said. “We played against the best high school students in the country. [Bobby Lee Hurt] in the Minor Christmas Tournament. At that point, I had never received a letter from my major school—it was Christmas in my senior year. It’s like, “He’s too short.” He will have to go to a junior college or a smaller school.”

Friends at Barkley recalled a packed house witnessing him score 24 points, rebound 20 and block five shots. Leeds won his 74-72 victory and the skeptics became believers. A few months later, Barkley enrolled at Auburn University, where he played three his seasons until 1984, when he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Draft.

classic olympics
Charles Barkley (center) won the gold medal at the Olympics in 1992 as part of the Dream Team.

Getty Images

Charles Barkley’s playing career included an MVP award and two gold medals. His broadcasting career has earned him four Emmy Awards for his work as an analyst. But when Jon Wertheim asked his Barkley about his success, he was reluctant to take all the credit.

“I was chosen by Charles Barkley,” said the 60-year-old. “I’m lucky and have a great body. When I’m in a hotel, the people who clean the hotel work three times more than I and other jocks around the world. We’re lucky straws.” If you think I’m better or I work harder, you’re just an idiot.”

Barkley shared with Wertheim that he believes the true measure of success comes from the legacy we leave behind.

“There are two important things. First, I want my parents to be proud of me. That’s the thing,’ said Barkley, Wertheim. “I want you to say, ‘I’m going to miss Charles.'”

Below you can see the full profile of Charles Barkley by Jon Wertheim.

Charles Barkley: 60 minute interview


The top video was produced by Keith Zubrow and edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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