A stretch of events in 1989 scarred Charles Barkley for life as the NBA star had to rearrange his priorities. The situation revolved around a widely infamous drug arrest of his younger brother, Darryl Barkley in Leeds, Alabama. The aftereffects led to him threatening to cut ties with his sibling forever, just a week before his daughter Christina’s birthday. These moments paved the way for a stand-out chapter in his journey as well as his biography, ‘Barkley,’ written by Timothy Bella.
According to the book, Darryl was a convicted criminal in a drug case at that time as his identity became apparent during a police investigation. He reportedly sold illegal substances at least once to the undercover officer deployed to gather information. It eventually led to his arrest as a total of fourteen people were convicted of drug trafficking.
Despite the consequences, Charles’ mother, Charcey, and grandmother Johnnie Mae refused to believe the reports. Johnnie Mae encouraged Darryl to take a drug test which he initially had declined to. It enraged Charcey as she presented his son with an ultimatum. “Take the drug test or I’m throwing you out of the house,” she declared.
As a result, they drove out to a drug testing center in Decatur where Darryl attempted to prove his innocence. However, the result displayed traces of coc**ne as the doctor revealed it to the family members first. Yet, the younger sibling continued with his endeavor of trying to demonstrate his innocence before the result showcased the truth.
The news infuriated Charles whose Philadelphia 76ers had been swept by the New York Knicks just a couple of days prior. The 6ft 6″ star later learned about the coverage of the arrest as it piqued the interest of the local TV stations. Soon, with the headline, “Barkley’s Brother Arrested in Drug Sweep,” it became a national concern damaging Barkley’s reputation.
“I love my brother, but I told him if he [sells drugs], he is out of our lives forever. He will be my brother in name only. I mean it,” the 76ers openly announced. “I’ve got no sympathy for anyone who gets involved with drugs. I told him if he did this, he deserves to go away for a long, long time. Maybe he’ll wake up if he hears those [prison] doors slam behind him,” he further mentioned.
The entire situation showcased the tough decisions the NBA player had to make for the betterment of his and his family’s overall life. Despite adoring his younger brother, Barkley stood his ground, refusing to compromise on his morals to protect his inner feelings. The span of those few days from the playoff defeat to his brother’s arrest marked a tough period in his journey. Amidst the hurdles, the competitive star faced them head-on, showcasing his nature as a human being.
Still, Charles Barkley gave his brother a second chance
Despite the incident in 1989, he made active efforts to look after his sibling whose heart was operating at a 10% capacity because of addictions. Thus, Sir Chuck assisted with Darryl’s heart transplant in 2003, displaying true signs of brotherhood. “I got the phone call that my brother was getting a heart. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I do consider myself a spiritual person,” he stated at that time, displaying gratitude.
Eventually, Darryl’s life met an abrupt ending as he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 42. On a Friday in 2009, Charcey found her youngest son dead at his home in Leeds. Amidst the agony, the 1993 MVP chose to take only the positives from the scenario. Years later, the now-sports analyst even shared the series of events as lessons for athletes.
It further proved the persistent nature of Charles as he battled through life. “I believe God has given me a special ability to take care of people less fortunate,” he once mentioned to summarize his journey. The line is fitting to describe his ups and downs as he has continuously evolved through time.