Skip to content

Today in Philly Sports History: Sir Charles Elbows Angolan Dude, 1992

Jul 27, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT

Barkley Charles Barkley was the Sixers' lone representative on the historic 1992 Dream Team, although truth be told, by the time he actually started competing, he wasn't even ours anymore, having been traded to the Suns for Andrew Lang, Tim Perry and Jeff Hornacek about a week and a half earlier. The Sixers might've been glad to get rid of the headache when in just the first game of play–a 116-48 demolition of a not-particulary-star-studded Angola team on July 27th, 1992–Sir Charles caught himself in the middle of a media controversy. Barkley offended fans and teammates alike by elbowing Angolan young'n Herlander Coimbra in the middle of the rout.

Barkley claimed that it was in retaliation for Coimbra hitting him in the head as he got off a fast-break dunk, but with the US squad already leading 38-7, it was perceived as excessive on-court bullying on the part of the Round Mound. "If he keeps this up, they're going to throw him out of the Olympics," peeped fellow Dream Teamer Michael Jordan. David Robinson was similarly disapproving: "We're trying to tell Charles that he can't get too much out of control." However, Charles continued to approach the situation with a sort of moral objectivity. "Eye for an eye," said Barkley. "It's a ghetto thing."

The Dream Team would, of course, easily cruise to a gold medal in the '92 Olympics, and if the Sixers thought themselves lucky to be rid of Barkley, the feeling wouldn't last. In the '92-'93 season, Chuck averaged 26 and 12 for the Suns, on the way to both an MVP award and a finals appearance–neither of which he achieved in his time with the Sixers. Meanwhile, Philly suffered through a 26-56 season, officially starting a dark period in Sixers history, one which stayed dismal until the team drafted a scrappy guard from Georgetown with the #1 pick in 1996.