Charles Barkley collected a lot of hardware in his Hall of Fame career. There’s the 1993 NBA MVP award. There are the Barcelona Olympics gold medal and stuff signed by the entire squad he picked up as part of the Dream Team.
And those things can be yours now, for a price.
Barkley — now a part of the popular Inside the NBA crew on TNT — is auctioning off those and other items of memorabilia to raise money to build affordable housing in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama. Barkley spoke to Birmingham’s WJOX-FM about his decision.
“That stuff’s not that important to me. I’ve had an unbelievable life. I’ve been in Leeds a lot and we’ve probably got 30 eyesores, as I call them, where houses used to be when I was growing up. Either a rotted-out house or there’s just weeds that have overgrown.
“So, what I’m trying to do, I want to work with the city of Leeds, I want them to give me the spaces, number one. I want them to give me the houses, and I’m going to use my own money, selling my memorabilia…
“I want to do something really nice for Leeds. And if I could build 10 to 20 affordable houses — I want to do green housing, too. If I could sell all that stuff, it would just be a really cool thing for me.”
One of the things that comes through about Barkley, both in person and through the bombast of his television personality, is that is is a big-hearted, genuine man. He cares about people and his roots. He played his high school ball in Leeds before moving on to play his college ball at Auburn and, from there, the NBA.
This is simply another sign of that.