Sun legend Charles Barkley helped bring the franchise to new heights – in on-court accomplishments and notoriety – and that pinnacle came in the 1993 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls.
While the series did not go the Suns’ way, the Phoenix faithful look back on that season fondly. The series was on the front of everybody’s mind now while The Last Dance, a 10-part docuseries on the Chicago Bulls’ 1996-97 season, is airing.
Barkley filled up the stat sheet, posting 27.3 points, 13 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in the six-game series.
But what was his biggest regret about the series?
Not playing with his usual boisterous tenacity.
“I was so passive in Game 1,” Barkley told media on Tuesday. “I should have been really, really aggressive because that’s the only bad game we played.”
Instead, the power forward wanted to get his teammates involved early, perhaps to a fault. The Bulls jumped out to a 14-point lead after one quarter and coasted to a 100-92 win to open the Finals.
The Suns’ other three losses that series were by a combined nine points.
“My only regret about that series is not being…like, ‘Hey, screw this. I’m not waiting on you guys. You all better follow me,'” Barkley said. “I have to blame myself for Game 1 in the Finals for us being passive and me not being aggressive.”
There’s no way to know now, but had the Suns landed the first punch in Game 1, perhaps “Sir Charles” might have “NBA champion” added to his title as well.