Charles Barkley turned 50 Wednesday, and in true Chuck fashion, the occasion won't pass without much fanfare. In a wide-ranging interview over at SI.com with Hall of Fame writer Jack McCallum, Barkley shares stories about Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, TNT's NBA studio show and, of most interest to Jazz fans, claims that he was better than Karl Malone.
Uh-oh. After all, it has been about 15 years since we got to enjoy this rivalry, so why not bring it back now?
In fairness, Barkley's comments toward Malone seem to be out of affection, but Barkley says, "I'll say it on the record: I was better than Karl. He was great, I was better."
The Round Mound of Rebound claims that he was able to accomplish everything he did on his own, asserting that Malone "needed John Stockton."
"That's not a knock on Karl," Barkley said. "I didn't need a point guard. I could get mine any time I wanted to."
Malone played more than 400 more games than Barkley, and averaged 25 points and 10.1 rebounds per game and is the second-leading scorer in NBA history with 36,928 points. Barkley, who played for Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston, averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds.
Barkley says that Malone was his best friend on the original Dream Team in 1992 and that Malone often invited him to go hunting. But when told that they would be after mountain lion and bear, Barkley balked. "Damn," he remembered telling Malone, "can't we hunt something that can't f---ing kill us?"
Here's the full selection related to Malone:
One of the things about my game, though, was that I could do all my stuff on my own. I think I'm in the top 20 of players of all time. You take Karl [Malone] -- he needed John Stockton. That's not a knock on Karl. I didn't need a point guard. I could get mine any time I wanted to.
I'll say it on the record: I was better than Karl. He was great. I was better. The only thing he could do better than me was score and that came down to John Stockton.
But Karl was my best friend on the Dream Team. He used to call me all the time and ask me to go hunting.
"What are we going after?" I'd ask.
"Mountain lion and bear," Karl would tell me.
"Damn, can't we hunt something that can't f---ing kill us?" Hell, no, I would never consider going.
— Bill Oram