Charles Barkley: ’48-hour bender’ at Denny’s used in bid to avoid 76ers in draft
Charles Barkley recently spun a fantastic yarn about the comically ridiculous lengths he was willing to go to avoid being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 NBA Draft. And said lengths evidently involved a “48-hour bender” at Denny’s among other acts of outrageous overeating.
Barkley recently joined The Russillo Show podcast and relayed his recollections of those days during which he attempted to put on 20 pounds to spite Sixers owner Harold Katz.
I gotta tell you my funniest story. So the Sixers want to draft me, but they’re worried about my weight. They fly me up about a month before the draft,” Barkley recalls, as transcribed by Dime Mag. The owner of the Sixers named Harold Katz, this a true story, he says Charles, everybody in our front office wants to draft you but they’re concerned about your weight. I said, you don’t have to worry about my weight. I’m in good shape, I could probably get in better shape, blah blah blah. He says, I’m gonna put you on the test. He says get on the scale. I weighed 298. He says, it’s a month before the draft, I want you to get to 285.
So, I go down to Texas with my agent, who’s a [bleep] stole all my money. I don’t want to mention his name. Lance Lesnick is his name. We go down to Texas. I workout like a crazy man for a month and then two days before I got a stop in Philly on my way to New York for the Draft. At this point, I weigh about 282. My agent says, you know now the way the salary cap work you can only get a 1-year deal worth $75,000 because the Sixers are over the salary cap. Because back then they had a hard salary cap. So I was like, dude, I didn’t leave college for $75,000. He says, well these are the rules, you gotta hope the Sixers don’t draft you. I said what can I do to make the Sixers not draft me? He says, you weigh 282, he told you when you were up there to get to 285, you weigh 282 now. I said I don’t want the Sixers to draft me.
So we went on a 48-hour bender to Denny’s. We went to Denny’s for two days and I fit as many pancakes as I could in my mouth for breakfast. For lunch, we went to a cafeteria buffet. For dinner we went to a big steakhouse. We did that for 48 hours straight. So, we fly to Philly. I get on the scale and I weigh 302. And the owner of the Sixers calls me every name in the book. And I’m trying to kinda laugh on the inside, like, dude then don’t draft me. But I was trying to be professional. When they called with the fifth pick in the draft the 76ers take Charles Barkley, I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was in trouble. I was like, holy crap. I left college for $75,000.
Barkley’s gluttonous gambit obviously failed, as the Sixers selected the “Round Mound of Rebound” with the fifth pick in the 1984 draft. He played the first four season of his Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia before moving on to the Suns and the Rockets.
It’s hardly surprising to hear of Barkley’s antics. This is the guy who allegedly ate McDonald’s while sitting on a treadmill during Sixers practices.