“I thank him for taking this little fat kid under his wing”

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Charles Barkley and Moses Malone are much closer than many people who didn’t follow the NBA in the past may realize.

Barkley joined the Philadelphia 76ers, who were a powerhouse with guys like Julius Erving, Malone and Maurice Cheeks. Those three took Philadelphia to the NBA championship in 1983 (and the NBA Finals in 1980 and 1982). And with the addition of Barkley, there was certainly something special that could have happened in Philadelphia.

While the team didn’t end up winning a championship with Barkley, with an Eastern Conference finals appearance in 1985 as the 76ers’ best run, it was the relationships along the way that made Barkley the person that he is now.

On “Showtime Basketball,” Barkley spoke about how much Malone truly helped him. Not only was Malone somebody that Barkley could look up to on the court because of his play, but he was somebody that genuinely helped Barkley off the court, too, and the Round Mound of Rebound credited him for a ton of his success.

“Now, I’m playing with real players,” Barkley said. “Can’t play at that weight. Don’t know it, just, you know, I’m a rookie. Hey, rookie thing, playing a ton, I’m playing some minutes. But then I’m not getting no quality minutes, and so Moses – Me and Moses happen to live in the same building. Moses lived in the penthouse, I lived on like the sixth floor if I remember correctly. – and I said, ‘Mo, can I come see you tonight?’

“And he said, ‘Sure.’ And I called him dad, even to this day, and one of the most bittersweet things, his family knew how close we were. I got to speak it, do the eulogy at his funeral (in 2015). I love that dude. But, so I go up. I said, ‘Big Mo, why am I not getting to play?’ He said, ‘Oh, young fella, you’re fat and you’re lazy.’

“I’m like, ‘What?’ He says, ‘You’re fat and you’re lazy.’ He said, ‘Charles, you can’t play at 300 pounds in the NBA, young fella … can’t work hard at 300 pounds.’ But he said, he says, ‘You want to lose weight? I come meet you before practice, after practice. … I thank him for taking this little fat kid under his wing.”

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2022 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony
2022 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony

Charles Barkley on relationaship with Moses Malone

Hearing Charles Barkley talk about Moses Malone, a three-time MVP, a Hall of Famer and a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team, in this way is something not many may expect.

The two got along very well, and it wasn’t because of what they both did on the court. Barkley said he loves him more than most other players that he’s ever played with because of what Malone did for him throughout his career.

Speaking at Malone’s funeral was huge for Charles Barkley and meant a ton to him.

If it wasn’t for Moses Malone, there’s a good chance that the NBA wouldn’t have seen Charles Barkley the way we did.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein





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