Charles Barkley continues to be the most interesting man in entertainment, and certainly the most quotable. In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch, Barkley spoke about his weight issues just ahead of the 1984 draft. At Auburn, the star forward regularly played at 300 pounds and was nicknamed “The Round Mound of Rebound.”
The 76ers wanted a slimmed-down version of Chuck, one that didn’t cross the 300 threshold, which ultimately led to a 48-hour binge buffet at Denny’s as Chuck nearly ate himself into oblivion.
Here are the details:
Back in my day we had a hard salary cap so you could not go over the salary cap like you can today and the Sixers had the No. 5 pick in the draft. I left college after three years and in fairness, I was fat in college. I played at 300 pounds. The Sixers called me a month before the draft and said, “We want you to get down to 285 pounds and come in before the draft.” So I get down to 283 and the night before we fly into Philly my agent said, “You do know if the Sixers draft you they are going to give you $75,000, right?” I said, “Dude, I didn’t leave college for $75,000. We have a problem.” He said, “You weigh about 283 now. What do you want to do? You beat their weight limit.” I said, “Let’s go out.”
So we went to Dennys and I had like two Grand Slam breakfasts. We went to lunch and I had like two big barbeque sandwiches. That night we went to a big steakhouse. The next morning I had two more Grand Slam breakfasts and when we flew to Philly, I weighed 302. I was like, Thank goodness, the Sixers are not going to draft me. So when you look at my face when commissioner [David] Stern says ‘With the fifth pick in the draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Charles Barkley,’ I was like, ‘Oh, sh–.’ When people go back and look at me walking, and they see that awful burgundy suit, everybody else is happy and Charles isn’t happy. But it worked out great. The most important person in my basketball career was Moses Malone and he got me down to under 250 pounds and the rest is history.
As CSN Philly notes, there are 770 calories in an Original Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s. That seems a little light and probably doesn’t include the bread soaked in delicious melted butter served on the side.
So, let’s just call this an even 1,000 calories. He ate four of them. He probably ate a few large pizzas for dessert, as well. Sure, 19 pounds in 48 hours sounds kinda ridiculous, but, as the saying goes, once you go fat, you never go back. Something like that.
By the way, here’s the Original Grand Slam in all its glory. God Bless the USA.