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Charles Barkley – Sir Charles, if you’re feeling formal – made his way to South Jersey last month for Katz JCC’s annual Sports Award Dinner. As the keynote speaker, Barkley spoke about his basketball memories, mentors, his golf game and giving back to the community.

The Hall of Famer was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984, where he played alongside greats such as Julius Erving and Maurice Cheeks. Another outstanding teammate was Moses Malone, who Barkley refers to as his mentor, and even called “Dad.”

“I will never know why a Hall of Famer took a fat, lazy kid from Auburn and treated him like a son and got him in shape and made him a player. Every time I saw him I called him ‘Dad.’“

After pointing out to Barkley that he was “fat and lazy,” Malone encouraged him to lose weight and get in shape. Barkley has long said that taking Malone’s advice made the difference in his career – even if Malone never talked about it.

“He never said anything about what he did for me. Most guys, when they mentor a young player like that, they go around saying, ‘Yeah, that was me. I did that.’ Not Moses. He never told anybody. And that was the best part.”

Keeping off the weight wasn’t the only practice Barkley picked up from playing with legends on the Sixers. Recently, Barkley revealed a practice warm-up adopted from his Philadelphia teammates.

“When I got to Philadelphia, Dr. J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks – they never practiced. They’d sit on the side, on the stationary bike, eating McDonald’s. So once I had been in the league X amount of years, I adopted that philosophy. I had played 48 minutes the night before, I wasn’t going to get up the next morning and go to practice. And I always go with the Egg McMuffin and the hot cakes with sausage too. Thats the best breakfast you can get.”
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