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12/7/1999 - Houston Chronicle
Lifeless Rockets easy prey
12/7/1999 - Houston Chronicle
Barkley's injury ironic
12/7/1999 - Houston Chronicle
'It's over' for hurt Barkley
12/7/1999 - Houston Chronicle
Such a sad finish for a special player
12/7/1999 - Philadelphia Inquirer
Barkley injured, ending career
12/7/1999 - Philadelphia Inquirer
The Pain of Leaving
12/7/1999 - Philadelphia Daily News
The end is here
12/7/1999 - Philadelphia Inquirer
Injury in Phila. game finishes Barkley's career
12/7/1999 - Philadelphia Daily News
Barkley deserved better ending
BARKLEY'S CAREER OVER
Chuck ruptures quadriceps tendon, season, career officially over
By Clutch
DECEMBER 8, 1999 7:21 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. 76ERS

Carlos Rogers had a decent night and Steve Francis had 18 points and 7 assists... but this is the Chuckster's night. Everybody else get the hell out of the way. I recall a few years back, his first season as a Rocket and playing in Philly he was asked what the Sixers needed to improve. He answered that the Sixers were two players away from contending: Dr. J and Wilt Chamberlain. Stick around Chuck -- we're going to sorely miss you otherwise.
Shandon, Shandon wherefore art though? You've disappeared again back into oblivion? 0-3 from the field and 0-8 in the last two games... this after scoring 53 points in the two games before that.
Charles Barkley said this would be his last year.

He's not going to get to finish it.

Barkley, ironically in Philadelphia where it all began, played just 7 minutes before rupturing the quadriceps tendon in his left knee after going for a block on a Philly shot. He is out for the season and after the game said it was a sign to call it quits now. The Rockets, without Chuck, fell to the Sixers in Philly 83-73.

Barkley said after the injury was diagnosed, "It's over." and broke down in tears while speaking to his wife on the phone.

Man, it's just a sad day and it tears you up.

It's a crushing blow to both the team and to Barkley, but you don't worry about the team. The team was going to lose Barkley this offseason anyhow.

You worry about the Chuckster.

Love him or hate him, Barkley didn't deserve to go out this way. He was going out on his terms. He made a stance that this was it and didn't bitch to be traded or anything of that nature when the team started out 2-10. He praised highly rookie Steve Francis and enjoyed teaching him the ropes. You could tell he wanted to help this team get to the playoffs.

Nothing is the same without Charles Barkley. Not the team, not the fans, not anything (certainly not the Quotes section). He made every game in some way fun, enjoyable, entertaining, controversial or thrilling.

The Rockets went on to lose the game -- primarily because they shot a dismal 36.6%, scored a grand total of 73 points and turned the ball over 28 times.

Steve Francis made his return from injury after a 3-game hiatus, scoring 18 points and dishing 7 assists with 4 turnovers -- shooting 6-15. Cuttino Mobley was just 3-10 shooting, but finished with 14 points. Kenny Thomas added 8 points and 6 boards but also shot just 3-10.

In fact, only Carlos Rogers (6-10, 13 points, 7 boards) and Walt Williams (3-4, 8 points, 6 boards) shot 50% or better from the field.

But it all seemed so trivial without Charles.

Barkley got 6 ovations from the Philly crowd. I remember when the Rockets acquired him. The page, then called Clutch City '97 and hosted on a college server, was just 2 weeks old. It was like the circus rode into town. "Hakeem Olajuwon... and Clyde Drexler... and Charles Barkley?!" He embraced the city, the team and its fans and that first year in Houston he was a truly dominating force. Injuries seemed to cut him down each and every season in some way or another.

Watching him in training camp was amazing. He competed and had so much fun with the game -- you could tell his teammates loved having him on the team and got a kick out of his jokes. He has a charm and charisma about him that has made him a World-reknown figure and is rare in any individual -- if not extinct.

You find yourself hoping the doctors are wrong, that possibly he can recover quickly or make it back to the team... you just hope this isn't it, but that's not going to happen.

I'm going to miss Charles Barkley.


Clutch can be reached at clutch@clutchcity.net and also can be followed on Twitter



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