In the early ‘90s, Charles Barkley was one of the NBA’s best players — but he was also one its most hot-headed players. He was frequently fined for starting brawls with other players and, in an infamous Nike commercial, he even stated, “I am not a role model.”
On March 26, 1991, Barkley did something truly outrageous, even for him. The Sixers were playing the New Jersey Nets in a hard-fought regular season game. A Nets fan in the front row had allegedly been heckling him all night, and eventually caused him to snap. In the 4th quarter, during a stop-and-play, Barkley spit in a fans general direction — only it hit a little girl instead.
Instantly it became a story and the basketball player was rightfully criticized nationwide following the ugly incident. He was then suspended from a game without pay and was fined an extra $10,000 by the league. It took years for him to rebuild the damage to his reputation . When he retired, Barkley said that he didn’t regret a single moment of his controversial career, except the spitting incident.
Despite his regret, he also claimed that it was a life-changing incident and lead him to ultimately shed his hot-headed reputation.