Barkley: A Biography

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Nov. 2022. 512p. ISBN 9781335484970. $29.99. SPORTS
Whether dominating the boards as a member of the ’92 Dream Team or devising impromptu shenanigans with Shaquille O’Neal on Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley has always seemed larger than life, so it’s perhaps fitting that Washington Post reporter Bella’s biography of the basketball player clocks in at over 500 pages. Barkley’s instincts and raw talent made him one of the best basketball players of all time, just as his willingness to speak his mind made him one of the most compelling (and controversial) sports figures. While Bella was not able to speak with Barkley himself for the book, the stories from the hundreds of people Bella did interview paint a riveting and nuanced picture of Sir Charles, flaws and all. From Barkley yelling through a mouth full of pizza at teammates to work harder; to throngs of adoring fans showering him in adulation, even as his teams came up short against others; to the deeply insensitive remarks and belligerent treatment of fans that made him a figure as reviled as he was beloved, Bella’s book has it all.
VERDICT This book will take its place as the definitive account of Barkley’s life so far. Essential reading for all basketball fans.
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