In 39 regular-season games against Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley actually held a slight advantage, winning 20 games. The postseason, as Sixers fans know, was a different story.
Jordan knocked Barkley’s Sixers out of the playoffs in 1990 and 1991, and he beat the Suns in 1993, Barkley’s first year after being traded from Philadelphia.
NBC Sports NBA insider Tom Haberstroh’s latest Haberstat illustrates just how much success Jordan had against Barkley. Out of 20 Hall of Famers that Jordan eliminated from the playoffs, he had the highest overall career scoring average against Barkley – 35.8 points per game in 55 matchups.
In an April interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brian Brennan, former Sixers head coach Jim Lynam remembered the challenge of coaching against Jordan:
You felt almost powerless. You always feel like you have another resort, another option to go to. I always had a premise, don’t let the best guy beat you. If they’re going to beat you, so be it. But not the way they want to do it. With respect to him, you ran out of options in a hurry. Two things made him unstoppable. His skill set, number one. And skill set is a combination of talent and technique. And he had both talent and technique at the absolute highest level. And number two, whatever intangible he had that made him just flat-out want to beat you – whether it was beat your team, beat his man, make this basket, whatever – take that intangible to the absolute highest level possible.
Barkley had a close relationship with Jordan before the six-time champion took exception to Barkley criticizing him as an executive. He recently compared his strained relationship with Jordan to the dynamic between himself and Joel Embiid, who he believes “hates me because I call him lazy.”
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