Rest in Power: Charles Shackleford

On January 27, 2017, former NBA journeyman Charles Shackleford was found dead at his home in Kingston, North Carolina, where he played for Kingston High. He was 50 years old. Police say the incident is still under investigation.

Though few neophyte basketball fans will recall, Charles Shackleford was a a journeyman big man in the National Basketball Association but also spent numerous stints playing overseas. Drafted with the 1988 pick overall out of North Carolina State University by the New Jersey Nets, Shackleford’s hilarious quote “I can shoot with my left hand. I can shoot with my right hand. I’m amphibious” still is mentioned by broadcasters and color analysts.

He helped head coach Jim Valvano North Carolina Wolfpack win the 1983 NCAA Championship against Hakeem Olajuwon at the Houston Cougars.  His last second put back off a desperation heave from Dereck Whittenburg was one of the most exciting finishes in NCAA history.

But during his time at North Carolina Shackleford was embroiled in a great deal of controversy.In the book Personal Fouls by Peter Golenbock, and as was revealed by NBC, it was revealed that Shackleford was suspected of throwing an NCAA Tournament game to avoid drug testing. Shackleford and other teammates were also alleged to have been involved in point-shaving during the 1987-88 season in which he was alleged to have received $20,000 from a New Jersey businessman.

However, a later investigation found insufficient evidence for criminal charges. His NBA career was somewhat strange, the 88-89 season was his best statistically at 8 points and nearly 7 rebounds per game and he has a career high 23 points and 26 rebounds in 1990. He did major work overseas for Phonola in the Serie A in averaging 19.7 points and nearly 16 boards per game, leading his team to a league championship. He led that league in rebounding the next year as well.

He returned to the NBA in 1991 for He was a mostly widely known for being backup on for coach Jim Lyman’s early 90s Philadelphia 76ers teams that included Charles Barkley, Manute Bol and Rick Mahorn.

After leaving, Philly Shackleford would win a championship in Turkey before bouncing around the NBA. He retired in 2000.

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