Charles Barkley Gave Michael Jordan’s Team USA Some Bad Press at the 1992 Olympics By Elbowing Angolan Player: “Fat Boy Who is Very Aggressive in the Paint”

Published 12/23/2021, 9:30 AM EST


Michael Jordan has dominated the sport of basketball at many levels. Jordan dominated the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, which is a big reason for the sport’s enhanced international image and marketing. He also played for the US national team in international competitions. During one such time when Jordan was representing US at the Olympics, there was a controversial moment between a player on Jordan’s team and a rival nation’s player.

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Former NBA star Charles Barkley got into an altercation when the US played Angola during the 1992 Olympics. Barkley elbowed an Angolan player and afterward claimed that the player elbowed him a few times first. The US team, led by Michael Jordan, received flak from the international media for the incident.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan is shown talking with Charles Barkley at the start of the Hall of Fame Enshrinement in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 11, 2009. (Photo by John Atashian/Getty Images)

Jordan said, “We all tried to talk to him (Barkley) and say, hey, we still want to be liked. That’s one of those moves that wasn’t quite smart. Hopefully, we can get past that mistake.”

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The Angolan, Herlander Coimbra, in a 2012 NBA TV documentary later said, “Other players in Angola play against Charles Barkley, and they told us there’s like a kid, a fat boy who is very aggressive in the paint. I think he acted like a bully, but maybe it’s his personality.”

Jordan eventually led the US team to a 116-48 victory against the Angolans. Barkley led the US ‘Dream Team’ in scoring during the prestigious tournament. The US ultimately struck gold at the 1992 Olympics, which took place in Barcelona, Spain. Barkley left the Philadelphia 76ers to join the Phoenix Suns the same year.

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Michael Jordan for the US National Team

As with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan cemented his place in the US national men’s basketball team as one of its key players. Jordan kick started an era of dominance for the US in international men’s basketball competitions. In the 1992 Olympics, he was a part of the US ‘Dream Team’ alongside Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and others.

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At the 1992 Olympics, Jordan came second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.9 ppg. It wasn’t surprising to most basketball fans that Jordan dominated the Olympics with ease.

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Shalom Saldanha

246 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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