Charles Barkley came close to winning an NBA championship when he was with the Phoenix Suns in 1993. And now, the Suns have a chance to win their first title again as they are currently facing the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. PopCulture.com recently caught up with Barkley for an exclusive interview and was asked if he was surprised to see the Suns play in their first championship series since his time in Phoenix.
"No, they're a great young team and I'm rooting for them," Barkley told PopCulture. The Suns were one of the more consistent teams in the NBA this season, thanks largely to Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Currently, the team is down 3-2 to the Bucks in the series and have to win on Tuesday night to keep their championship hopes alive.
Barkley started his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and was traded to the Suns in 1992. It turned out to be a good move for the Suns as Barkley averaged 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, leading the Suns to the best record in the NBA at 62-20 for the 1992-93 season. Barkley won the MVP award, and the Suns reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1976. The team lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games, and Barkley could not get back to the finals as a member of the Suns.
If this year's Sun's team doesn't win the championship, they will likely be in the mix to win the title in 2022. However, there will be a dark horse team that makes a surprise run, which leads to the question of which team is likely winning the NBA Finals next year?
"Well, I picked Portland this year, shows you what I know," Barkley said. The Portland Trail Blazers had a disappointing season, losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. And things might not be getting better for them as superstar player Damian Lillard could be on his way out of the Pacific Northwest.
Barkley will dive more into the 2021-22 season later this year on the Inside the NBA, which airs on TNT. The Basketball Hall of Famer has said he will likely leave the show when he's 60 (turned 58 in February), and when that happens, he knows his next move. He told PopCulture: "I'll spend my time doing two of my favorite things, golfing and fishing."