In 1990, the Detroit Pistons took on the Philadelphia 76ers in what was a heated game. Charles Barkley was integral in what ended 107-97 in the Sixers’ favor. Chuck did everything, both on the court and off it. Not only did he score 36 points, but according to reporters from the United Press International, he also sent a letter to the Pistons locker room mid-game.
Addressing it to Bill Laimbeer, Barkley showed off his penmanship with a two-word letter. “F**k you,” wrote Barkley, who pretty much sowed the seeds for what followed in the game. With 14 seconds left on the clock, and nothing to lose, both Sir Charles and Laimbeer got into a tussle, one that saw both of them get ejected.
The kerfuffle began after Laimbeer threw the ball at 76ers forward Rick Mahorn’s face. This prompted Barkley, who was already out for blood, to charge at the center. A few fists were thrown and before they knew it, they were out of the game. But, this didn’t stop them from jawing at each other on the way back to the locker room.
Following the game, Barkley was asked to comment on his actions. Calling out the Pistons for being “cheap”, Barkley explained how the Sixers had no plans of letting their opponents win. He then mocked Laimbeer for his poor fighting skills. “He had a shot at the title, and he lost. I got in 3-4 good punches,” said Barkley. To this day there is no love lost between the two.
Charles Barkley claims Bill Laimbeer couldn’t fight as all he could do was take punches
Throughout the NBA’s 77-year history, Bill Laimbeer has gained a reputation as one of the toughest players of all time. A member of the infamous Bad Boy Pistons, the rep comes with the job. However, there are those who do not rate Laimbeer highly, both as a player and as a fighter.
This is especially true when it comes to Charles Barkley. As was seen earlier, Chuck and Laimbeer often got into it, sometimes over the smallest of things. This often resulted in the two going at it, almost as if they were Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks. And, if Barkley is right, then Laimbeer was often the Spinks in the equation.
For context, Spinks suffered a knockout at the hands of Tyson 91 seconds into their fight. In other words, he couldn’t even get a hit in, and according to Sir Charles, this was also the case with Laimbeer. Speaking of the Bad Boys on the Dan Patrick Show, Barkley claimed that only Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars were fighters. Laimbeer, on the other hand, could only take punches, not throw them.
Clearly, the Round Mound of Rebound didn’t think much of Laimbeer, nor did many of his contemporaries. Nevertheless, the two-time NBA Champion left his mark on the league, similar to Chuck. And, at the end of the day, that’s all any player can hope to do.