NBA superstars and skilled players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Isiah Thomas, and many others abounded in the 1980s and 1990s. One of those well-known figures, Charles Barkley was on par with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
He and Magic had a close contest for MVP in 1990. According to Charles Barkley’s 1995 book Sir Charles: Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley, it was one of the most contentious contests in NBA history and one that even Barkley didn’t think he would win.
Despite the fact that The Round Mound of Rebound would ultimately lose the race, three years later he would succeed. He even led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals while winning the MVP award in 1993.
His Airness, who thought he deserved to receive the prize, was there to oppose him. Instead, he took the setback as motivation, defeating Barkley and the Suns to win his third title.
Charles Barkley believed Magic Johnson should have won the 1990 MVP award instead of him
Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson were the two best NBA players in the 1989–1990 season. Many people were unsure about who would win the MVP award because they were neck and neck.
Naturally, the media narrative focused exclusively on Magic since, along with Michael Jordan, he was the league’s “golden boy” at the time. Chuck, though, was also performing at a higher level that season. He was outstanding for the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists a game.
In addition, Magic brought his “A” game, scoring 22 points, pulling down six rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists per game. Sadly, their clubs had a difficult time in the playoffs, as they both lost in the Conference Semifinals.
“It just depends on what you guys have been drinking.”
It was undoubtedly a competitive contest, and Chuck continues to believe he should have won. But in the end, he did succeed in 1993, just a few years later. He probably preferred winning a championship than receiving an MVP award, though.
Prior to the 1993 NBA Finals, Magic Johnson did not like how friendly Chuck and MJ were with one another
The Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls met in the 1993 NBA Finals. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley squared off in this contest. And Magic Johnson, another legend, had a problem with that. Johnson made a joke about how he didn’t appreciate Chuck and MJ’s camaraderie during the Finals.
He felt that any friendships should have been set aside and that the two should have focused on hoops. In response, Barkley said he would try a different strategy in their competition. Sadly, his strategy backfired because he ultimately lost to Jordan in seven games and was unable to obtain a ring for himself.