Charles Barkley was known for years for his superb skills in the power forward position on the hard court. His NBA career led the former AuburnTiger to play with the 76ers, the Suns, the Rockets, and to land a spot on that 1992 Olympic squad deemed “The Dream Team.” After retiring from playing the game, Barkley hasn’t gone far. He remains a fixture in the broadcast booth for TNT and Turner Sports sharing his often hilarious, sometimes controversial, but always brutally honest take on the game he loves.
These days, Barkley may be just as well known for his acts of kindness away from the basketball court. He’s made a concentrated effort to use his fortune for good. Recently he announced he was donating $1 million dollars to Spelman College in Atlanta, marking the sixth major donation he’s made to an HBCU. Sir Charles also made a point to give back to educators in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama. In May 2021, officials from Leeds School System announced on Facebook that not only has Barkley quietly provided over three million dollars in scholarships to Leeds graduates over the years, but when the pandemic hit, he arranged for students to receive laptops and wifi hotspots, got the schools proper cleaning supplies, and then he gifted each and every employee of the school system $1000.
Although Barkley no longer lives in Alabama, Leeds and the entire state of Alabama remain very important to him. He’s determined to step in and lift up his home state in any way that he can. When Birmingham hosted the international sports competition, The World Games in July, Barkley served as a co-chair and an ambassador for the games. He spoke to Southern Living about the experience and his take was more about the long term impact.