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Charles Barkley Disputes Nuggets’ 5280 ‘Altitude Advantage’, Uses Oxygen Masks To Breathe: “Don’t See No Banner up Here”

Jan 31, 2024

Tonoy Sengupta|Published June 02, 2023

Credits: USA Today Sports

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are here. They have made it to the first-ever NBA Finals in the history of their franchise. And as if to sweeten the franchise's day, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley had to delay their vacation to cover the Finals on NBA TV. They don't ever do that. However, it appears that they are just a tad bit salty about it too. Despite wearing an oxygen mask, Barkley decided to call the Nuggets’ biggest advantage absolute bogus. And as if his saying that wasn't enough, he had to poke fun at Denver's lack of banners too.


To be clear here, this mountainous city's altitude advantage is a big deal, something the franchise is very proud of. After all, why else would they have the number of feet they are above sea level written on their NBA floor? (5280). And clearly, it makes a difference. Or at least enough of one for all the analysts on the NBA TV panel ahead of Game 1 to need oxygen masks. But Charles is a stubborn, sometimes even vindictive man. And he behaved as such ahead of Game 1.

The Denver Nuggets have never made the NBA Finals before, let alone win an NBA championship. So, in every way that matters, the franchise is in its golden era. And, of course, they are going to be throwing every conceivable advantage they have at the Miami Heat throughout this series, arguably the biggest of which is the altitude.


With the air being way thinner up there in Denver, it's hard to even speak without going out of breath. But as we mentioned already, apparently, that factor doesn't exist for Charles Barkley.

"First of all, every time they mention it (the altitude), I think it's the stupidest thing ever. It ain't true… The reason I don't think it's true, I just don't remember all those Denver Nugget championships. This is the first time they ever been to the Finals…

Listen, these guys are the best athletes in the world. So the notion that breathing gonna dictate who wins? This is the first time they been to the finals! And all of a sudden now, altitude matters? Give me a damn break!"

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As great as Charles Barkley is, we don't think the franchise's lack of championships is the greatest point to disprove the Nuggets’ natural advantage here. After all, this is the first time the franchise has been able to manufacture a championship-caliber team.


And of course, as most Denver fans will point out, Barkley has no championships either. Yet we still call him one of the greatest players of all time. There seems to be a disconnect in logic around here somewhere.

They certainly have more than a stone's throw of a chance. After all, they are the favorites to win this series, on paper, at least. However, they do need to be very much wary of the Heat.

Throughout their postseason run, Jimmy Butler and Miami have been the underdogs, overcoming every obstacle on their way to the NBA Finals. Quite frankly, while the Nuggets can get an NBA championship, labeling the Heat as underdogs will only hurt them going forward.

In simpler terms, don't play around with the dog that bites.


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About the author

Tonoy Sengupta

Tonoy Sengupta is an Editor of NBA content at The SportsRush. Coming from an athletically inclined family, he has been surrounded by sports ever since he was 4 years old. But, while initially pouring all his time into Football (soccer), at 14, Tonoy discovered basketball through the countless highlights of Stephen Curry humiliating players from Curry Land. And just like that, a fiery passion for the game was ignited within Tonoy. And soon after, he decided to become a student of journalism, graduating in 2022, and choosing sports as his area of interest. Today, you can find him spending 99% of his time browsing through every type of content on every team in the NBA, before uncorking everything he has found to the world.In the 1% he isn't doing this, you can find him playing Basketball, Football, Volleyball, or practically any other sport he has had the opportunity to learn.


Copyright: © RU Sport Private Limited. All rights reserved.

Copyright: © RU Sport Private Limited. All rights reserved.

Charles Barkley calls out Nuggets history to discount Denver's altitude advantage Can Jokic and the Nuggets prove Barkley wrong and raise a banner this season?