‘I Think About all the Time’: Charles Barkley’s Biggest Regret from 1993 Finals Against Michael Jordan’s Bulls

Published 05/23/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
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)


Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley, what do these five legends have in common? Well, these Hall of Famers played in the same era as the Bulls’ Michael Jordan and failed to win even a single championship ring. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Among the aforementioned names, Charles came the closest to beating Michael Jordan in an NBA final but eventually failed. So what went wrong for him and what went right for Jordan in their most memorable clash?

Charles Barkley would never forget the 1993 NBA Finals against Michael Jordan

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Chicago Bulls’ Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan courtside at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

Basketball is a game of small margins, and it can take microseconds for a team to lose/win a match. Back in 1993, the league topper in a 62-win Phoenix team had met a 57-win Bulls team in the NBA Finals. It was an ultimate Charles Barkley vs Michael Jordan showdown for which everyone was long waiting. 

Trailing by 1-3, the Suns had bounced back in game 5 with a 108-98 win over the Bulls. Even in game 6, they were 98-92 ahead of the Bulls with a minute left on the game clock and yet they lost every possession.

In a recent interview, a 58-YO Charles remembered the night and expressed, “We had a 6-point lead, and we ran three plays for me. And I had to pass the ball three straight times. I lay around sometimes and think, man I should’ve went through that double team. It’s not a good basketball play, it’s not a smart basketball play, but they made me pass the ball three times in a row and we didn’t score and they scored seven straight points, they beat us by one.”

DIVE DEEPER

‘Really Annoying Habit’: Charles Barkley Discusses an Interesting Gambling Story With Michael Jordan

about 1 month ago

What went in the favor of the Chicago Bulls in that final minute against the Suns?

The answer lies in the guarding ability of the dangerous duo in Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. Coach Phil Jackson was clever enough to put the double-team of these big guys on the Suns’ best scorer, Barkley. They knew that they could gain important rebounds if the other players missed their shots and that’s exactly what happened.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

As Charles added, “Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen are the two best defenders. When they double you, there’s no space coz they’re both lean and athletic, so hard to find a passing angle out of that double team. But sometimes when I’m in my room with myself, I’m like… it’s not a smart basketball to go against a double team, but that’s the thing I think about all the time.”

Phoenix coach Paul Westphal’s “no penetration” order to the Suns did not specify that they can’t leave John Paxson open. But that one mistake cost them the game, the championship, and history in the making.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

‘Going to be Blasphemous’: Charles Barkley Disagrees with Stephen A Smith on LeBron James vs Michael Jordan GOAT Debate

about 1 month ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Sourabh Singh

1284 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT