Nike recently dug deep into their massive vault of ground breaking performance basketball shoes re-releasing a classic from 1995, the Nike Air 2 Strong. Multiple members of basketball royalty once sported a pair on the court, but none greater than Charles Barkley and David Robinson. It just so happens the latest release of the Air 2 Strong features the Phoenix Suns colors Barkley made famous and the San Antonio Spurs colors the Admiral went to battle in.
Even though the two didn’t play the same position, they often found themselves matched up against each other on the court. It’s only fitting Nike released the two color ways at the same time pitting them against each other once again.
For argument sake, we decided to raise the question: Who had the better NBA career?
Barkley has better numbers across the board, but has no rings thanks to a guy some of you might have heard of, Michael Jordan. Robinson also played during the same era but didn’t get his rings until Jordan retired and with3 significant contribution from his fellow twin tower, Tim Duncan.
With several factors determining the answer to our question we took a closer look at the numbers.
Barkley: 21.7 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, .8 bpg
Robinson: 21.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 3 bpg
Barkley: 11 straight years of 20+ ppg and 11+ rpg
Robinson: Only 8 years over 20 ppg
Barkley: Total: Last 15 years (out of 16) with over 10 rpg, 14 with over 11
Robinson: Only 9 seasons over 10 rpg, only 5 over 11 but 7 straight years to start career over 3 bpg
Barkley: 11 time all star including MVP season
Robinson: 10 time all star including MVP season
Barkley: 5 time 1st team all NBA
Robinson: 4 time 1st team all NBA
Barkley: Playoffs Averages–23 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6 spg, .9 bpg
Robinson: Playoffs Averages–8.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 2.5 bpg
The competition argument goes out the door as both guys faced equally difficult opponents, yes Barkley battled Malone, Kemp, Rodman but Robinson had to face Olajuwon, Ewing, and a young Shaq.
The stats clearly tell us Barkley had the better career especially at what he was able to accomplish playing a big man’s game at only 6’4″ but inevitably greatness is defined by championships and Robinson owns the bragging rights in that department.
The question is similar to the decision you have to make when purchasing the Air 2 Strong, it comes down to preference, do you enjoy a loud brash approach or a fundamental and effective style of play?
Here’s Robinson greatest game of his career.
Here’s one of Barkley’s greatest games.