Yes, Charles Barkley Was the Dream Team's Second-Best Player

1992 Olympics - Dream Team USA
1992 Olympics - Dream Team USA / David Madison/GettyImages

Charles Barkley was a guest on Ryan Clark's Pivot podcast this week and a discussion about the Dream Team came up. The Hall of Famer claimed he was the second-best player on the team, and discussed how some of his teammates agreed. Co-host Channing Crowder laughed at the notion of Barkley being the second-best on the squad. But here's the thing: Chuck is right. Other than Michael Jordan -- who was in his prime -- Barkley was the Dream Team's best player.

Here's the discussion:

At the Olympics in 1992, Barkley was an absolute force for the Team USA. He led the team in scoring (18.0 points per game) and averaged 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.6 steals in only 18.6 minutes per game. I mean, he shot 71.1 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from 3-point range in the eight-game tournament. He was on fire in Barcelona.

At the time, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were past their primes, and while Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone both played well in the Olympics, they didn't do what Barkley did. Jordan was the star, but Chuck was easily the second-best performer on that roster.

Barkley was 28 at the time and in the middle of his prime. He followed up his stellar play with the Dream Team by being named NBA MVP for the 1992-93 season with the Phoenix Suns. In that campaign he averaged 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks in 37.6 minutes per game. He led the Suns to a 62-20 record and the top seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix took Jordan's Bulls to six games before losing in the NBA Finals.

I don't know if it's because he's goofy on TV these days, but people seem to have forgotten just how dominant Barkley was in his prime.

While there were certainly bigger names on the Dream Team, Barkley was absolutely the second-best player and was probably the MVP of the tournament.