Charles Barkley never won a championship during his NBA career, although he was very close to lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy. He faced big teams on the way to the Finals or in the biggest series of all, but Chuck could never stop them and had to make peace with that fact.
However, there was a time when he and two other legends could have finally won that desired NBA championship but things didn’t come to fruition for them. The 1999-2000 NBA season was a huge one for the league and Barkley, who would hang the shoes.
Before that season started, Chuck drew interest from several teams around the league, including the Utah Jazz, who were one year removed from playing in the NBA Finals and losing to the mighty Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
Charles Barkley Almost Formed Another Superteam Before Retiring
Even though Charles Barkley once claimed he wanted to hurt John Stockton, the Utah Jazz legendary point guard was really fond of the power forward and wanted him to join the Jazz before the start of that season. Along the Jazz, two other teams showed interest in Chuck, but he decided to stay in Houston.
Via Deseret News:
The Lakers, Jazz and Sonics all expressed interest in acquiring Barkley that offseason. Stockton even called him and told him to come to Utah. “He would have made up for a lot of the mistakes elsewhere on the court,” Stockton said. (Take a moment to imagine the amusing what-if of Barkley, and his hobbies of drinking and gambling, playing 41 games a year in Salt Lake City.) It was all flattering to Barkley — and also eye-opening.
He had come to terms with the fact that his window for a championship, the lone accolade that people wouldn’t let him forget about, had closed. Even during the early part of the season, Barkley didn’t shy away from talking about what his life after basketball would look like, and the feelings that went along with it.
In the end, he didn’t move and stayed in Houston, but the Rockets couldn’t do much to compete in the Western Conference. They finished the season with a 34–48 record, not making the playoffs.
As for the Jazz, they posted a 55–27 record, coming in 2nd in the Western Conference. They couldn’t get past the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the playoffs, missing another chance to compete for a title. Perhaps Barkley’s presence would have helped them, and he would have played with who he considered the ‘perfect’ point guard, but Chuck had different plans and knew that a championship was too much for him at that point.