NBA Legend Charles Barkley Loves a Good Cigar
You probably know Barkley best for his days on the court with one of several teams and more recently behind a desk commentating on basketball games, but you might not know that he’s as big a fan of cigars as he is basketball. That’s right the former 76’er and often infamously outspoken Sir Charles is a lover of fine cigars. He’s in good company too with fellow NBA stars like Michael Jordan and Lebron James
The Early Years and Being Bad at the Game
Before he was a power forward charging from one end of the court like a man half his size, Charles was just a kid from the middle of nowhere in Leeds, Alabama. After a tumultuous childhood Charles would wind up paying to play basketball at the local rec center after being too small and uncoordinated to make his high school’s varsity team.
As luck would have it, the summer after his junior year, Barkley grew six inches and instantly stood at 6’ 4” tall and over 200lbs. He was immediately granted a spot on his high school team and from there went on to attend Auburn University in Alabama.
At Auburn he began to develop his skills and led the SEC in rebounds each year while earning himself nicknames like “The Round Mound of Rebound” and “The Crisco Kid” for his issues with his weight. He has since been called one of the most athletic big men in the NBA.
He would go on to be drafted as the 5th pick in the 1984 draft by the Philadelphia 76er’s. It is here where Charles would gain widespread notoriety and fame.
Brash and Outspoken On and Off the Court
Nowadays Barkley is known for his lighthearted jabs and off the cuff remarks, especially towards fellow NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Back when he first began his career however, this was a different story. Barkley was known for having a particularly aggressive play style that often resulted in contact with opposing players including several on-court brawls, one which landed him a record setting fine in 1990.
His biggest incident involved a fan who was hurling insults and racial slurs at Barkley, when Barkley caught wind of the slurs he spit at the fan and inadvertently hit a little girl. Barkley was fined and suspended as a result and later made amends with the girl and her family as well as crediting the incident with teaching him to play the game properly and with more respect.
Despite all his negative publicity, Barkley would go on to play for the United States twice in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, where he would take home gold medals both times. He is also a two time Hall of Fame inductee, once as an individual and once as part of the “Dream Team” during his time in the Olympics.
Sir Charles and the Cigar Lifestyle
He would go on to win a number of awards and play successfully for two other teams, the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets before retiring in 2000. That has slowed the multi time all star down though he continues to do philanthropic work and be a role model to kids all over the country.
In his down time though, Barkley likes two things in particular, golf and cigars. He is noted to smoke 3-4 cigars in a day when he “decides to light up” and is often seen puffing away on a Cuban Churchill while teeing up for a swing.
Barkley claims to have begun smoking after watching former rival and friend Michael Jordan puffing away every time they would meet up. From there Barkley tried his first cigar and liked it. From there Jordan became his cigar teacher and had him smoking lower tier cigars until he moved up to the Cubans he favors today.
Barkley says that he learned from Jordan that the process of smoking a cigar is to learn to enjoy the smoke itself and to “always have two humidors” one for smokers that know what they’re doing and one for those who don’t. This philosophy taught Barkley to enjoy his smokes as a way to relax and unwind rather than smoking for the sake of smoking.
Barkley supposedly possesses 4 humidors and is a collector as well as a smoker. He favors not only Cubans like the Churchills he’s known to smoke, but others as well like hand crafted Padron Cigars. Barkley is fond of the idea of treating cigars well, as you would people you care about and always takes care to store his smokes properly and enjoy each and every one, he smokes.
Still Making Waves
Since his retirement, Barkley has done a good deal of work mentoring kids and speaking on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association as well as doing endorsements for products and other promotions.
He can still be seen regularly as a color commentator for the TNT network’s coverage of basketball games and still enjoys making light of his former teammates and fellow players on a regular basis. There’s no doubt everyone will be seeing plenty more of this “fat kid from Leeds Alabama”.
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