Charles Barkley‘s basketball prowess earned him enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. However, what most people may not be aware of is that before he became a basketball sensation, he also tried his hand at football for a solitary day. On an episode of the Behind the Mask podcast, the former NBA MVP revealed the football coach at Leeds High School ended his desire to play the sport after one session.
Barkley’s coach made him play on the defensive line, a notoriously physical position. After only two hours of practice, he was ready to quit. He said,
“I had my head down; I was totally exhausted, my head was hurting my everything about it, coach says ‘I’ll see y’all tomorrow.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, we’re not practicing, we’re not doing this tomorrow, we’re not doing this s**t tomorrow. No, no, no.’”
Barkley revealed he was getting dominated at the line of scrimmage because he did not know the snap count, giving the offensive lineman the advantage and allowing them to hit him first. The gruesome training session hilariously prompted the basketball star to hand his coach his uniform back and turn his back on playing football for good.
Barkley seems to have made the right choice. After dominating at Leeds High School, he spent three years at Auburn before being drafted fifth by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 NBA draft. He spent 16 seasons in the NBA and has embarked on a stellar career as a basketball commentator and analyst in retirement. Turning his back on football was one of Barkley’s wisest decisions ever.
Charles Barkley loves football and despises Alabama
Credits: ABACA Press
Despite quitting on a potential football career after only one training session, Barkley enjoys watching the sport. He’s a massive fan of the Auburn Tigers and naturally despises his alma mater’s arch-rivals, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. The local rivals compete annually in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide has historically dominated the head-to-head duels between the two colleges.
Barkley is outspoken about his disdain for the University of Alabama. In an interview with ESPN, he said,
“I can’t root for Alabama under any circumstances… I told you if they played Afghanistan, I’d be pulling for Afghanistan.”
Barkley added that the Crimson Tide aims to win championships, while Auburn is content beating Alabama,
“I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying this — we are like the stepchild. We aren’t ever going to be Alabama. If we play them in anything, we want to beat them.”
Barkley is spot on. Alabama has won 34 Conference titles and 18 National Championships, including six since 2009 under former head coach Nick Saban. On the flip side, Auburn has won 16 division titles but is yet to win a National Championship. The Tigers, like Barkley, remain ringless.