WATCH: Charles Barkley Reveals How Late NBA Legend Paul Westphal First Gave Him Nickname ‘Chuck’

by Josh Lanier
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Charles Barkley said he’d hoped Suns coach Paul Westphal would improve his game, but the legendary coach’s first act of business was to change Barkley’s name.

Westphal an NBA Hall of Fame guard, five-time All-Star and prolific coach died Jan. 2. He was 70. ESPN reported that doctors diagnosed him with brain cancer in August 2020.

Barkley reflected on his time playing for Westphal during the 1992-93 season on NBA on TNT recently. Sir Charles has had a lot of nicknames during his career, but no one ever called him Chuck. That was until Westphal bestowed the name on him.

Charles Barkley said he was sitting in the locker room when a reporter called over to ask a question. He repeatedly called out “Hey, Chuck” Barkley remembers. When Barkley finally realized they were speaking to him, The Round Mound of Rebound tried to set them straight. “My name is Charles. Not Chuck.”

The reporter apologized and said Westphal had called Barkley “Chuck” in an earlier interview.

“Alright,” Barkley shrugged to the reporter “from this day forward my name is going to be Chuck.”

He pointed out that most of his friends still call him Chuck to this day.

Westphal took “Chuck” and the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals, but the team lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games.

Charles Barkley, Former Teams Remember Paul Westphal

Barkley discussed what it was like to play for Paul Westphal and said he was as good a coach as he was a person. And he is a Hall of Fame coach.

“I miss Paul already” Barkley said during Thursday’s episode of NBA on TNT. Barkley played for Westphal for a season but left a better player and person.

“Along with the numerous accolades and achievements he earned on the court, he was a true gentleman who treated everyone he encountered with remarkable kindness, humility and candor, making an indelible impact on so many across our sport,” the Kings said in a statement via ESPN.

Westphal coached the Sacramento Kings and Seattle Supersonics.

“There may be just a handful of people who have as much influence and significance on the history of the Phoenix Suns,” former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo said in a statement to ESPN. “All he accomplished as a player and as a coach. Off the court, he was a gentleman, a family man, great moral character. He represented the Suns the way you want every player to represent your franchise.”

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