Jordan’s wild punchline on Charles Barkley before the 1993 Finals!
The double defending champions, facing the best record in the league and the MVP of the season: the poster between Bulls and Suns during the 1993 Finals was already an enticing duel. To spice things up a bit, Charles Barkley made sure to annoy Michael Jordan via the press before the start of hostilities. And the GOAT had not failed to respond with a wild punchline.
We will not teach you anything by recalling that Charles Barkley is one of the greatest to have ever walked the NBA floors, without having completed his career with a title on his list. All you have to do is watch the highlights of the show « Inside the NBA » on DTTwhere Shaquille O’Neal often scoffs at this, to find out. The year Chuck came closest to a ring is still 1993. to reach the Finals, where they found Bulls double champions in title.
A dream matchup for the league and its fans, which also included an XXL duel between Barkley and Michael Jordan. The interior had then just dethroned His Airness as MVP of the season; a detail that was already enough to overmotivate the latter. But such a tense context between the two stars obviously did not satisfy Sir Charles, who had found another parade to piss off his opponent.
According to him, as a regular season leader and league MVP, his franchise was » destined to win the Finals, dethrone the Bulls and lift the Larry O’Brien trophy « . A certainty that he had gladly shared with journalists, and to which Jordan had not failed to respond following Game 1.
Michael Jordan : He [Barkley] keep telling me that shit since he came to phoenix. We are as destined to win as he is. I don’t think a single player in the situation we’re in thinks he’s going to lose.
Before adding a wild and memorable punchline:
Michael Jordan : My teammates and I are here to tell Barkley that his destiny is to spend a long summer wondering what he should or could have done [contre nous].
Already ultra-confident by nature, Jordan then came out of a success acquired with an 8-point lead, and had just dominated Barkley (21 points) individually with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. A precision which is important to explain the content of his remarks, and which could also have changed his great rival’s opinion on this confrontation.
The sequence of events could have the same effect. Winners of 3 of the first 4 games, the Bulls seemed promised to a Three-Peat who held out their arms. Phoenix’s victory in Game 5, which pushed the deadline more than anything else for most observers, still prompted Barkley to repeat his speech in the Chicago Grandstand :
Charles Barkley : I believe it is our destiny to win a championship title. We have believed in this since the start of the season. We didn’t care if we were down 3-1. God wants us to win a championship title. I spoke to him directly the other night.
Believers or not, it is clear that the Chuckster was on the wrong track. In a tense Game 6 in Phoenix until its last moments, it was on the Bulls that fate smiled with a three-point clutch shot from John Paxson to seal the victory. As always, it was therefore Michael Jordan who emerged from the Finals with the laurel wreath.
Contrary to what he claimed, it seems Charles Barkley’s fate in Phoenix and the NBA did not include winning a title. Mentioning it in the press will only have resulted in increasing Michael Jordan’s desire to make him lie.