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Charles Barkley: Better Announcer or Basketball Player?

Nicholas RoddyCorrespondent IAugust 16, 2010

Charles Barkley: Better Announcer or Basketball Player?

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    Sir Charles Barkley is one of the most famous basketball players in the history of the game. From his notorious spitting incident to his two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team, Barkley sure has had his fair share of the spotlight.

    What he might be even more famous for, however, is his studio reporting for games on TNT. 

    In 2000, Barkley joined Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson and the gang on the network's pre-game and halftime reports.

    He has become a fan favorite, even among the older generations (My grandmother says he's charming).

    So if he is such a great all-around guy, what is he better at?

    Is Charles Barkley a better announcer or basketball player?

Better Announcer

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    When the Round Mound of Rebound decided to retire from basketball in 2000 and become a studio analyst, TNT officials did not know what they were getting themselves into.

    Barkley has quietly become one of the most personable and down-to-earth announcers in all of sports.

    He calls out show-offs and players who go on live television in front of millions to declare their free agency decision (cough...LeBron...cough). He talks to real people about the troubles that the country is going through.

    For example, in a 2006 meeting for the National School Boards Association, he stated that he would be looking into the idea of running for Governor of Alabama.

    "Republicans and Democrats want to argue over stuff that's not important, like gay marriage or the war in Iraq or illegal immigration... When I run — if I run — we're going to talk about real issues like improving our schools, cleaning up our neighborhoods of drugs and crime and making Alabama a better place for all people."

    What kind of announcer says this stuff? Can you picture Joe Buck or Chris Berman going to a PETA meeting and talking about euthanasia?

    Barkley says what is on his mind. And that's something that mostly everyone in this world is afraid to do.

    It also does not hurt that he knows more about basketball than Ernie Johnson will ever know.

    With all of this evidence, what else is there to say? 

    Well, one more thing. Barkley is probably the funniest person in sports. Remember his race with NBA official Dick Bavetta at the 2007 All-Star Weekend?

    He brings attention and energy to the sport that is rarely seen these days. 

    Barkley is without a doubt one of the greatest announcers in the history of sports, thanks to his sense of humor and plain common sense.

Better Basketball Player

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    Barkley was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1984 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. That year, he was named to the 1st team All-Rookie Team.

    That is quite an honor for a rookie. A group that included Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, and could have also added John Stockton. 

    1984, however, was Barkley's worst year as a professional. That year, he averaged 14 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

    He never dropped below those numbers for the rest of his career.

    And besides that rookie campaign, Barkley averaged a double-double in every year in the Association.

    He consistently averaged over 20 points per game and was named the league MVP in the 1992-1993 season.

    After stops in Phoenix and Houston, Barkley decided to hang up his sneakers in 2000.

    He tried and tried again, but is one of the best players in history to never win a NBA Championship ring.

    Barkley is one of the best players in the history of the NBA because of his wild consistency and contagious personality on the floor.

    He was a floor general, a specialist at pounding and grinding in the paint, and had a smooth jumper to boot. That kind of playing is not seen nowadays, and makes him that much more valuable to the game.

Better Golfer

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    Oops, how did that slide get in here?

    Charles Barkley's scary golf swing became famous thanks to his appearance on the television show, "The Haney Project". 

    Hank Haney, best known for coaching Tiger Woods, tried to correct an uncorrectable swing, leading to an entertaining show to say the least. 

    Barkley sure did try his best, but like Haney so eloquently put it, "Charles' swing looks worse than Helen Keller trying to read".

    Sir Charles might be the worst golfer of any athlete in sports.

Verdict

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    While he may not be in the top 10 players in NBA history, Barkley definitely deserved his spot on the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, which ranked the top 50 players.

    However, 50 is still quite a large number. That leads to the most important question:

    Who are the 50 greatest announcers?

    Sure you could name a handful, maybe 15 or so. Is Barkley included in that list?

    Barkley's common sense and openness makes him a shoe-in for one of the top announcers in the NBA, if not all of sports.

    And this is nothing against his ability on the hard court, but Charles Barkley is without a doubt a better announcer than basketball player.

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