Saturday, July 25, 2009

Was Charles Barkley Truly Short for a Power Forward?

Much of Charles Barkley's legacy has been built on him being an undersized power forward. For example, says "However, as a player he was the greatest anomaly in basketball history. Listed at 6-6, but probably actually closer to 6-4, he played power forward as well as anyone, often dominating players half a foot undersized power forward with rebounding as his only discernible basketball skill." You can also read a rather passionate debate on Barkley's true height, thought to be 6'4.75", here.

However, the problem with measuring height from head to toe to determine NBA skill is that it does not correlate well to basketball skills. For example, a guy with a long neck and long face will be several inches taller than a guy with a small face and no neck. What is most important is how high the shoulders are. For example, I am 6'0", but quite honestly, a lot of that is my giraffe neck, ha. When I was pressed into playing forward/center for some teams, it quickly became clear that I played much shorter than my height. But just who do you think has a small face and no neck?

For example, take a look at this photo of the 1992 dream team. Jordan, reported to be 6'6", and Barkley are side by side. But Barkley's shoulders are definitely higher than Jordan's.

I think Barkley was a great NBA player. But I always get annoyed at how head height is so overrated in the NBA. I believe Barkley's shoulder height was more in line with a 6'7" or 6'8" player. While that still makes him undersized for the typical power forward, it no longer makes him extraordinarily so. I'd like to read a Barkley profile without unnecessary gushing about how undersized he was, because it's just not true.

1 comment:

  1. Great sports site man. I look forward to reading some more. I have a sports blog myself and I would like to exchange links with you. Let me know. Take care.