When the Suns put on their retro black Hardwood Classic jerseys for the first time on January 30, you might have noticed something else that was a throwback to the 90’s, as well. P.J. Tucker’s shoes. Oh, and the way he plays the game, too.
Tucker was wearing vintage CB94’s by Nike. Charles Barkley made those very shoes famous while playing at US Airways Center (then America West Arena) and wearing the Suns black uniforms with the sunburst logo emblazoned across the front.
The Suns forward wore the shoes as an homage to Barkley, who he watched play while growing up.
“Big Barkley fan,” Tucker said. “Big Barkley shoe line fan. Everything Barkley I’m big on. So I had to do that with the black uniforms. I had to dig in my crates. I’ve got so many shoes. I knew I had a pair of those. I had to find them and bring them out for those uniforms.”
As a Suns fan, you see something strangely familiar in Tucker’s game. And there’s probably a reason for it. He patterned aspects of it after the Round Mound of Rebound himself.
“[My play was influenced by] the way he rebounded for sure,” Tucker admitted. “How hard he played too. He was such a tremendous, tremendous athlete. So that was huge.”
While Tucker may not possess the same level of athleticism that Barkley did, he does have as much heart. Anyone who has watched him take the court in a Suns uniform this season can see how he works hard for every rebound and tries to lead by example. Qualities he and Sir Charles most certainly share.
So the next time the Suns rock the retro black jerseys, know that they aren’t the only throwbacks on the court. If you look close enough at Tucker’s shoes and his game, you might just see a little Barkley in both of them.