Tennis

Barkley backs Murray as best of '12

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Never winning a championship weighs on Charles Barkley, even in retirement. He might say it does not bother him, but he openly admits to rooting for athletes who have never won the big one. Or as he calls them, athletes on the “sh– list.”

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When Sports Illustrated asked Barkley for his choice for Sportsman of the Year, the ringless Hall of Famer went with a guy who finally got the championship monkey off his back this season. Only it was not the guy you might think.

Barkley went outside his own sport and passed over LeBron James for Andy Murray, the tennis player who finally won his first major when he won the 2012 US Open and also captured gold at the London Olympics.

“His story was so remarkable this year, and I’m excited for him,” Barkley told SI’s Richard Deitsch. “I am one of the few guys who knows what it is like when you are on the sh– list. They talk about, ‘these are great players, but…’ It’s always a ‘but.’ So when you are on that list and you see one of those guys get off the list, you get really excited. He’s my pick for Sportsman of the Year.”

Other picks for the award were swimmer Michael Phelps, Angels outfielder Mike Trout, golfer Rory McIlroy and soccer player Didier Drogba.

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