Bobby Knight was a tough coach. You could say he was hard as nails. Even though he is no longer coaching, he is still tough as nails. He is a tough person to be around. He could be scary. In fact, he can be quite scary. But he was really tough on me. He was really tough on a lot of people. He was really tough on a lot of different people. He was really tough on men, women, and children. He was tough on the elderly. He was tough on everybody. He was tough on me.
I’ll admit it. I was a top-seeded eighth grader who had never gone to a game at The Palestra in the town of Philadelphia. I didn’t know it yet, but I was going to be at the center of a series of events that would forever force me to either change my ways or be left in a wheelchair.
For a variety of reasons, the 1984 Olympic gold-medal-winning US men’s basketball team became famous. It was not only the final amateur team to win gold for the United States, but it also gave birth to Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin, and Patrick Ewing’s Hall of Fame careers. It is, however, perhaps more famous for the Hall of Famers who did not make coach Bobby Knight’s final roster. Charles Barkley is a professional basketball player. is a professional basketball player. is still bothered by it after all these years.
Knight’s Olympic trials boot camp in Bloomington, Indiana, snubbed a number of prominent players. John Stockton and Karl Malone were also left out of the team. A previously unaired interview Barkley gave to author Jack McCallum for a new documentary series accused Knight of turning it personal between the coach and the player.
Charles Barkley’s lost opportunities were somewhat compensated for by the Dream Team.
Charles Barkley, like Stockton and Malone, was a member of the legendary Dream Team in 1992. It was the first professional American team to compete in the Olympics. On their way to a gold medal, the 12-man team, which included 11 Hall of Famers and national college player of the year Christian Laettner, destroyed the competition.
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Bobby Knight became a member of an exclusive brotherhood. He is one of only three coaches in history to win an NCAA championship, a National Invitational Tournament championship, and an Olympic gold medal. Knight is most remembered for his tumultuous but successful tenure at Indiana, where he coached for 899 games from 1965 to 2008.
Despite his success, Knight’s erratic behavior drew as much attention as his coaching. The last team to win a national title with an unbeaten record was Indiana in 1975–76. Knight throwing a plastic chair in a 1985 game against Purdue is more likely to be remembered.
Barkley, on the other hand, has skeletons in his closet. This includes an admission that he was paid while playing at Auburn. Barkley, on the other hand, won the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1983–84, and he guided Auburn to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. That wasn’t enough to win a spot in the Olympics.
Barkley expressed his views regarding Bobby Knight and the Olympic trials to a journalist.
Following a game, University of Auburn center Charles Barkley shakes hands with a reporter. Coach Bobby Knight removed Barkley off the 1984 U.S. Olympic squad after he was named SEC Player of the Year. | Focus on Sport via Getty Images
For the 1984 Olympic trials, USA Basketball brought 75 of the best collegiate players to Indiana. Five people did not show up, leaving a total of 70 people from which to choose a 12-player team.
Charles Barkley, according to sources, was one of the top players during the tryouts. Despite the glowing evaluations, coach Bobby Knight decided to cut him. Two powerful personalities, one of whom had complete control over who was allowed in and who was not.
Some of Barkley’s views on the Olympic rejection were broadcast for the first time in the new Paramount+ documentary series Dream Team: Birth of the Modern Athlete. The film is based on unreleased audio recordings collected by McCallum during his research for his book on the Dream Team, which was published in 2012.
“Bobby Knight was plotting something against me. I had the impression that he didn’t want me there since I was the second-best player there. He didn’t want me to be a part of the squad. It was all in good fun.”
However, one guy left the camp with a lasting impression on Barkley. When he got home, he discussed his thoughts with Auburn coach Sonny Smith.
“My coach sent me there to improve, and he told me, ‘I believe you’re the greatest player in the nation,’ so I went. I’d want you to go there and demonstrate it.’
“When I came back, I told Coach, ‘Coach, we’re getting very close.’ I’m the country’s second-best player. But there’s this guy… from North Carolina… who’s the greatest I’ve ever seen.”
Throughout their NBA careers, Barkley and that man, Jordan, would be inextricably connected.
Charles Barkley was a member of the legendary NBA Draft of 1984.
Jordan was selected third overall in the star-studded NBA Draft of 1984. Charles Barkley was ranked No. 5 two places later. Four members of the class were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Aside from Jordan, Barkley, and Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon, the No. 1 overall selection, had a good career.
Barkley was a 16-year NBA veteran who retired following the 1999–2000 season. In 1992–93, he won the NBA MVP award and was named to 11 All-NBA teams. Sir Charles was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility, in 2006. Barkley, who is 6-foot-6 (on a book), previously led the NBA in rebounding with 14.6 rebounds per game in 1986–87.
Despite his brilliance, Bobby Knight did not consider Charles Barkley for the 1984 Olympic squad. As a consequence, he still has a vendetta towards Knight.
Basketball Reference and SRCBB provided the statistics.
RELATED: During the Dream Team’s First Game in the 1992 Olympics, Charles Barkley Caused an International Scandal
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