The Charles Barkley Era: Phoenix Suns Basketball at Its Best

Mike B.Correspondent IJuly 11, 2010

9 May 1994: PHOENIX FORWARD CHARLES BARKLEY SHARES A MOMENT WITH SOME YOUNG PHOENIX FANS ON THE BENCH DURING THE SUNS GAME AGAINST THE DENVER NUGGETS.
Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

I wasn't much of a Phoenix Suns fan until the 1992 off-season.

Actually it was June 17, 1992 to be exact. That was the day the Suns acquired Dream Teamer Charles Barkley from the Philadelphia 76ers .

Well, the Suns didn't actually acquire Barkley from the Sixers, they stole him. All the Suns had to give up in the deal was Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry.

Are you kidding me?

Hornacek was a good player, but not a superstar. And have you ever heard of Andrew Lang or Tim Perry? I have, but only because I'm an NBA fanatic.

I remember hearing about the trade and thinking to myself, "Wow, Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, and Dan Majerle all on the same team.... They're going to win it all."   

The Suns instantly became one of my favorite teams (although the Chicago Bulls were my favorite). I have to admit, I had jumped on the "Barkley-Suns bandwagon."

To me, the Suns were like a dream team. You had Barkley, who at the time was one of the league's top-five players, KJ, one of the best point guards, and "Thunder Dan" Majerle, one of the deadliest three-point shooters around.

And coming off the bench was former All-Star Tom Chambers, and longtime Boston Celtic Danny Ainge.

The Barkley Era brought a touch of newness to the Suns. The team had a brand new arena, a new logo, new jerseys—which were pretty cool by the way—and a new head coach, Paul Westphal.

1992-93 was undoubtedly the best season of the Barkley Era. It was kind of a storybook season. The Suns finished with a league-best 62-20 record and Barkley was named MVP after averaging about 25 points, 12 boards, and five assists per game.

In the playoffs, I fondly remember Barkley hitting the game-winning shot over David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs in Game Six of the Semifinals. That classic shot not only won the game, it also won the series.

The Suns ultimately reached the Finals that year and lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls in six games as John Paxson drilled a game-winning trey with about four seconds to go in Game Six.

Over the next few years, the Suns picked up solid veterans like Danny Manning, Wayman Tisdale, and A.C. Green.

They also added sharpshooter Wesley Person, and dealt fan favorite Majerle to the Cleveland Cavaliers for John "Hot Rod" Williams. 

Other guys who played for the Suns back then included Mark West, Oliver Miller, Richard Dumas, Cedric Ceballos, and Elliot "Socks" Perry. 

The Barkley Era officially came to an end on August 19, 1996 when Sir Charles was traded to the Houston Rockets for Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Mark Bryant, and Chucky Brown.   

Today, I'm no longer a Suns fan. Yep, I jumped off the bandwagon a few years after the Barkley trade. However, I'll never forget those exciting teams of the mid-90s.

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