Charles Barkley Claims Supremacy: Declares Suns Now His Team, Not Kevin Johnson's

Barkley shakes up Suns with unmatched confidence and ambition.

by Nouman Rasool
Charles Barkley Claims Supremacy: Declares Suns Now His Team, Not Kevin Johnson's
© Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the summer of 1992, as Charles Barkley transitioned from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Phoenix Suns, his confidence was unmistakable. Known for his assertive personality and remarkable talent, Barkley quickly made it known that his arrival in Phoenix marked a new era for the team.

Despite previous advice to shed some pounds, Barkley's self-assurance never waned, a fact he boldly communicated during his initial meetings with Suns' management and coaching staff, including coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. During a pivotal conversation with Suns' owner and Fitzsimmons, Barkley was informed of the existing hierarchy, which positioned Kevin Johnson as the team's linchpin.

Without hesitation, Barkley contested this notion, proclaiming, "No, it's not Kevin's team anymore. It's my team!" He didn't just stop at claiming leadership; Barkley also voiced his determination to guide the Suns to the NBA Finals, underscoring his belief in the team's potential and his own prowess.

Barkley's Bold Claim

Barkley's audacity extended to his teammates, as he encouraged them to maintain their performance levels, confident in the knowledge that the crucial moments would inevitably fall to him. His bold assertion wasn't merely talk; Barkley was committed to proving his worth as the "best damn player in the world," a statement underlined by his recognition of Michael Jordan's superior supporting cast in Chicago.

Embodying his promises, Barkley led by example throughout the 1992-93 NBA season, dominating the court with averages of 25.6 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, which culminated in him being honored with the MVP award. His leadership and stellar performance propelled the Suns to the NBA Finals, fulfilling his guarantee of a Finals appearance.

Despite Barkley's exceptional efforts in the Finals, averaging team-leading figures of 27.3 points and 13.0 rebounds, the Suns ultimately fell to Jordan's Bulls. However, Barkley's inaugural season with the Suns remains a testament to his formidable presence and leadership, marking a significant chapter in NBA history and showcasing his unwavering confidence and skill on the basketball court.

Charles Barkley Suns