Jayson Williams appeared on VICE Sports “Cookies” podcast this week and talked about a variety of topics, including the experience of being on the same team as Charles Barkley. Williams played his first two seasons with Barkley in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until years later in New Jersey that Williams became one of the premier rebounders in the NBA, possibly because of the bad habits he learned from Barkley.
"Charles Barkley was probably the strongest man from the bellybutton down. Never would lift the weights, but let me tell you something man. You knew he wasn’t going to win the championship."
"He was the worst person to play with as a rookie because when you went in you got all the bad habits from him. You stayed out all night and then you couldn’t figure out why you didn’t have it in the game. It’s because when Charles came to practice he didn’t practice."
"I’ll never forget this story. My second day of practice we’re out there running up and down. Charles Barkley comes in about 5-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 towards us and he’s doing stuff – 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 then and 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."
Williams also said that in his two years in Philadelphia, Barkley practiced maybe three times. Williams and Barkley were both traded out of Philly after the ’91-’92 season.
These stories about Barkley really make you question any criticism he has about any current NBA player, but it should also make you stand in awe of the physical abilities of Barkley as an athlete. He averaged 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals over a 16-year career as an undersized power forward and apparently refused to ever actually work on his game. That’s incredible.