For some NBA players, this story might be unbelievable, but because it’s Charles Barkley, it’s the most believable story we’ve ever heard. We’re all aware that Barkley wasn’t exactly a healthy eater during his NBA career, and that he used his rotund frame to open space for himself down on the block and rebound like a champ.
But on a recent podcast appearance for Vice Sports, Jayson Williams, Barkley’s former teammate on the Philadelphia 76ers, related an anecdote that reinforces what we’ve always assumed: Barkley’s NBA diet was less than stellar. From the podcast:
My second day of practice we’re out there running up and down. Charles Barkley comes in about five minutes late. He comes in and he has a big McDonald’s bag. And he goes and he sits down on the bike. And like a chemist. You know a guy over there cutting up lines or something. You know? He’s just making—he’s got his back to us and he’s doing stuff—[and] I’m like “what the hell is he doing?” So he takes the eggs, and he takes the pancakes, the sausage, maple syrup and butter, puts it all in one, warps it up with the pancake and gets some extra syrup. And the butter’s oozing out. And I’m going “wow, you going to eat that and then come run with us?” Hell no. He’s going to eat that while he’s on the stationary bike. Peddling one mile an hour going, “You sons of bitches! Run the floor! You lazy bastards! You f—ers! That’s why we ain’t never going to win the game!” And pancake is spitting out his mouth.
Imagine that scenario. You’re a rookie, or a second-year guy, sprinting up and down the court attempting to get yourself in shape for the long season ahead, and there sits one of your best players, methodically peddling a bike while chowing down on a horrific McDonald’s breakfast creation. If that doesn’t dampen your hopes of making a run at a championship, I don’t know what would.
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To his credit, during a recent appearance on SportsCenter, Barkley readily admitted the story was true.
“When I got to Philadelphia, Dr. J., Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks, they never practiced,” Barkley said. “They’d sit on the side or on the stationary bike eating McDonald’s. Once I had been in the league X amount of years, I adopted that philosophy.”
Charles Barkley: always telling it like it is.