‘Ringless’ Charles Barkley Bares His Heart On His Greatest Achievement Alongside Michael Jordan

After finishing third in the Men's Basketball Tournament at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Team USA decided to flex their muscles by assembling the best NBA players to represent them in Barcelona in 1992  

The star-studded roster winning the gold medal felt like a formality, but not for Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who described it as the'most surreal feeling' ever. In an appearance on the iHeart podcast, he stated,  

"Standing on the podium during the national anthem is the most surreal feeling I've ever had, despite having accomplished many amazing things in my life..." The Olympics are the most exciting event I've ever attended  

One of the coolest [feelings] is standing on the Olympic podium and hearing your national anthem played. We were looking at each other like, 'Yo man, I'm getting goosebumps.'"  

Barkley added that receiving the gold medal alongside Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson felt 'pretty special.'  

Making the 1992 Olympics roster, also known as the 'Dream Team,' was a significant accomplishment in its own right. Fourteen of the 15 spots were reserved for the league's best American players, with the final spot going to Duke star Christian Laettner.  

Being a member of that team validated each player's belief that they were among the best in the world at their jobs. Unsurprisingly, they dominated the competition, defeating Croatia 117-85 in the final to win gold with ease.  

Barkley never had the chance to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but winning the gold medal as a member of the Dream Team is a great consolation prize. Several players won championship rings, but only 15 can claim them.  

His exceptional performances did not make him one of the faces of the team, but Barkley isn’t bothered because head coach Chuck Daly gave him the affirmation he needed. 


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