Happy 50th, Chuck: Some Barkley Memories and the Godzilla Commercial

Happy 50th, Chuck: Some Barkley Memories and the Godzilla Commercial

The national media made a big hubub over the weekend about Michael Jordan turning 50 years old. Perhaps that is an occasion worth making a big deal about in the sports world. Who knows? Maybe they needed something to talk about other than Muggsy Bogues and meatball sandwiches. Maybe M.J. deserves that kind of attention. But one of our basketball heroes turns 50 today and we don't really know how to honor the man.

The Level crew discussed Barkley turning 50 over the weekend and tried to brainstorm our favorite Sir Charles memories. It seemed the consensus, for better or worse, was that most of us remember Chuck for his antics off of the court after he retired from the game. He's arguably one of the best sports broadcasters in the business and he's absolutely one of the funniest, most honest commentators around.

I remember my older brother had pretty sweet classic red No. 34 Sixers jersey when we were kids. I wore a pair of Barkley's all-black Air Max Nike's with one of those sweet air bubbles when I played a CYO football game at the legendary Vet in seventh grade. They turned green from the turf. I was bummed. I remember Charles joking around with me and my brother and being genuinely awesome with us when we waited in line to get his autograph at the King of Prussia Mall as kids. I remember pulling for him when he played for the Suns, hoping he'd get that ring. I remember running into him in Vegas during All-Star weekend in 2006 and him shaking everyone's hand. I remember him making jokes about butt implants on women being false advertising when I met him at CSN a year or two ago.

Mostly I remember him being hilarious.

I don't have any crystal-clear memories of much of what he did on the basketball court though, which kind of bums me out. I might need to track down some old archives.

What are your favorite Chuck memories? And may I suggest you click around here to see some of our best Sir Charles coverage on the Level over the years. There's been a lot of it.

And don't forget to set your DVR tonight for CSN's Barkley at 50 special. That should have some real gems.

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is all about trusting the process.

He manages to insert the well-known phrase into just about every interview, hashtags it on social media and soaks in the chants during games. 

While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team — which resulted in three years of dismal losing and suffering setback after setback — Embiid has his personal take on the mantra.

“I think I have my own process,” Embiid said Friday at practice.

Embiid is playing for the first time this season after waiting two years to recover from foot injuries. His long-anticipated debut was a focal point of “the process,” and his return to the court marked a new chapter in the organization.

“I went through two surgeries, lost my brother, thought about some stuff I shouldn’t have thought about, so that’s my own process,” he said. “And then the process of going through the rehab and finally getting back on the court and getting the chance to finally play in the league, that’s my process.”

Embiid is now synonymous with the word. He credits Sixers fans for the moniker, which he added to his Instagram profile. 

“I don’t think it came from me,” he said. “Fans just started and then I just went along with it.”

Wednesday marked the next step in the process, both for the Sixers and Embiid. His regular-season debut (20 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) was a long time coming and garnered buzz all over the NBA world.

“I was the third pick and then I missed two years,” Embiid said. “The excitement in the city, everybody’s happy to finally see me play. Even though it was weird because a lot of people kind of wrote me off a long time ago saying that I’d never play as a Sixer, I’d never play in the league. So it’s all fun. Everybody’s going to have an opinion.”

He’s just got to trust in his own.