Charles Barkley is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The legend almost changed sports once.
He is an absolute legend of his sport – and yet Charles Barkley almost switched sports.
The basketball icon was about to switch to handball before the 1996 Olympic Games. At least that’s what the then national coach Claes Hellgren reported.
“The USA had disbanded their Dream Team in 1996 and one of the players, Charles Barkley, who was initially unselected, contacted us at the US Handball Division – because he wanted to play in the Olympics. Barkley was huge and when he showed up I thought he could be great around the circle,” he told Swedish Handball Magazine striker foul.
However, the plan failed, as Hellgren explains: “Unfortunately, it turned out that it would cost a million dollars to insure him.” Too much for the association, because the sport is not as important in the USA as it is in Europe.
At least there was a happy ending for Barkley. He was nominated a few months before the tournament and, together with Scottie Pippen, led the US team to defend the title. As in 1992, the power forward was the best scorer and had the best throw rate. He also got the most rebounds within the team.