Charles Barkley's Stats, Net Worth and Salary History Compared to Michael Jordan

Modern audiences may simply view Charles Barkley as one of the most outspoken NBA analysts on TV, but episode 6 of The Last Dance, ESPN's 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls, offered a timely reminder of how just great a player Barkley was.

The second of the two episodes aired on Sunday night delved into the relationship between Jordan and Barkley, illustrating how an intense rivalry was underlined by mutual respect. The duo were both part of the Dream Team that romped to glory at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, winning each of the eight games it played by an average of 43.8 points en route to the gold medal.

Barkley led the team in scoring with 18 points per game while shooting a scarcely believable 71.1 percent from the field, but Jordan had long established himself as the dominant presence in the most talented team ever assembled—each of the 12 players on the roster was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Last Dance showed footage of a scrimmage among U.S. players held in Monte Carlo before the Olympics between a team led by Barkley and Magic Johnson against a team led by Jordan.

While the game was little more than a practice session, Jordan could not contemplate the idea of losing and dragged his team to victory. His effort sent a clear message to his teammates and Barkley admitted Jordan's ferocious will to win simultaneously made him both a benchmark and an adversary.

"It was difficult because if you lose to him, No. 1, you're never going to hear the end of it," he explained.

"Listen, there's no other person, as great as he was, in my life that I wanted to beat more in basketball because when you lose to him you gotta hear about it every day for the rest of your life."

"I think that's what made him the GOAT [greatest of all time]. He takes everything personally."

A five-time All-NBA First Team selection, Barkley can probably consider himself unlucky he entered the league at the same time as Jordan and never won a title, despite averaging 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game over 16 seasons.

While he was one of the brightest stars in the NBA for over a decade, Barkley's earnings remained modest compared to Jordan's.

According to Basketball Reference, the latter's combined salary earnings during his NBA career totaled $93.3 million, compared to Barkley's $43.6 million.

Jordan became a commercial icon during his NBA career when Nike launched the Jordan brand and Forbes estimates his value at $2.1 billion, making him the fourth richest African American.

Barkley's value, meanwhile, is estimated to be approximately $40 million.

Jordan and Barkley both entered the league in 1984, with the Bulls picking the former with the third overall pick and the Philadelphia 76ers selecting the latter with the No. 5 pick.

The duo, however, joined completely different environments. The Bulls hadn't reached the playoffs in the three seasons before Jordan's arrival and he almost immediately took control of the team.

Barkley, meanwhile, joined a Sixers team that had won the NBA title in 1983 and was packed with high-profile veterans such as Moses Malone and Julius Erving.

Jordan was named Rookie of the Year in 1985 and was an All-Star in his first season in the NBA, while Barkley was named on the All-Rookie Team but had to wait until 1987 for his All-Star debut—Jordan was a 14-time All-Star during his career, while Barkley made the team 11 times.

Jordan led the league in scoring on 10 separate occasions, while Barkley was the NBA's best rebounder in 1987.

Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan
Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley (34) laughs at a foul call with Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan in the first half of a game between the Suns and the Bulls on 28 January 1996 at the United Center in Chicago. The Bulls won 93-82. Jordan scored 31 points, and Barkley scored 20 with 16 rebounds. Brian Bahr/AFP/Getty

The similarities between the two did not end there, with both Jordan and Barkley repeatedly frustrated in their efforts to reach the NBA Finals. The Bulls lost in the first round in each of Jordan's first three seasons, before losing to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1988 and in the Eastern Conference finals in the two following seasons.

The Sixers, meanwhile, lost the conference finals in Barkley's first season, before bowing out in the conference semifinals in 1986 and then losing in the first round in two of the following three seasons.

In 1990 and 1991 Barkley and Jordan crossed paths in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the former leading the Bulls to win the series in five games on both occasions.

Two years later, the two again met in the postseason as the Phoenix Suns, who had acquired Barkley in 1992, faced the Bulls in the NBA Finals.

Barkley arrived into the Finals as the regular season MVP after leading the Suns to a league-best 62-20 record and averaged a staggering 27.3 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the Finals.

However, it was to no avail as the Bulls prevailed in six games, with Jordan winning a third consecutive NBA title and a third straight NBA Finals MVP crown.

In The Last Dance, Barkley admitted Game 2 of the Finals was the first time he realized the extent of Jordan's prowess.

After losing Game 1 at home, the Suns threw everything they had at the Bulls in Game 2, with Barkley finishing with 42 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Unfortunately for him, Jordan replied with 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

"Game 2 I played as well as I could play, and Michael just outplayed me," he explained.

"That was probably the first time in my life that I felt like there was a better basketball player in the world than me, to be honest with you."