What if Michael Jordan had been drafted by the Trail Blazers instead of the Bulls in 1984? What if the Hornets hadn't traded Kobe Bryant to the Lakers in 1996? And what if the Pistons had selected Carmelo Anthony in the 2003 NBA Draft as opposed to Darko Milicic? It's so much fun to play the "What if…?" game when it comes to the NBA. But here's a "What if…?" that almost came true: What if the 76ers had traded Charles Barkley to the Lakers in 1992?

The NBA legend sat down with Sports Illustrated over the weekend to discuss his recent comments on analytics, his new profile on Undefeated, and his NBA career. And during his chat with SI, he confirmed that he was very nearly dealt to Los Angeles back in 1992. In fact, Barkley was so confident that he had been traded to the Lakers that he went out for a liquid lunch just hours before a Sixers game and was forced to play that night after the deal fell through.

"The Sixers backed out," he said. "It was going crazy for two weeks so I knew it would come down to Portland, [the] Lakers, or Phoenix. So I get a call from my agent one morning and he said, 'Philly has traded you to the Lakers.' So I went to lunch and started drinking. I'm fucking so excited that I am going to the Lakers. Three hours later, I get a fucking phone call from my agent saying that the Sixers backed out of the deal. I said, 'Oh, shit, I'm feeling pretty good right now.' So I went out and played that night…I played pretty well. I wasn't blasted, just a couple of drinks at lunch. I mean, I was excited to get the hell out of Philly."

Barkley did end up getting out of Philly a short time later when the Sixers traded him to the Suns. But we can't help but wonder what might have been if he had ended up on the Lakers.

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[via Sports Illustrated]