Charles Barkley Says He Once Played Drunk After Lakers Trade Fell Apart


Feb 16, 2015

Charles Barkley once thought he was going to be a Los Angeles Laker, and that was cause for celebration.

In 1992, the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers had a deal ready to go, and it looked like Barkley was all but headed to Tinseltown. Knowing that, Barkley decided to celebrate with some cocktails. Here’s the problem, though: The trade ended up falling through. Even worse, Barkley had to play for the Sixers that same night — after a boozy lunch.

“It was going crazy for two weeks so I knew it would come down to Portland, (the) Lakers or Phoenix,” Barkley recalled in a conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch. “So I get a call from my agent one morning and he said, ‘Philly has traded you to the Lakers.’ So I went to lunch and started drinking. I’m (expletive) so excited that I am going to the Lakers.”

Shortly thereafter, the bad news was delivered.

“Three hours later, I get a (expletive) phone call from my agent saying that the Sixers backed out of the deal,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘Oh, (expletive), I’m feeling pretty good right now.’ So I went out and played that night.”

There’s a Philadelphia Inquirer article from Jan. 12, 1992 titled “Barkley To Lakers: The Trade That Wasn’t” that seems to detail the near trade. So it’s probably safe to assume the game in question was Jan. 11 of the 1991-92 season. Barkley still had a pretty good game that night, scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a loss to Cleveland.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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