The Auburn basketball program is set to honor a legend.
This weekend, the Tigers announced Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley outside of Auburn Arena. Barkley will become the fourth Auburn athlete to be honored with a statue on campus, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
The news was announced by Jackson during the Auburn-Arkansas football game on Saturday.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Auburn retired Barkley’s No. 34 jersey in 2001.
“It’s more than about what Charles Barkley accomplished here at Auburn, which is certainly historic, but it has been about his life’s work and contribution,”Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said. “We want to recognize one of the most respected, philanthropic NBA legends, Hall of Famer, for his lifetime achievements.
“Our Auburn Family is so blessed to have an Auburn man like Charles Barkley in the public eye representing us. A statue and a symbol like this serves to bring attention to that and will stand the test of time.”
During his time at Auburn from 1981-84, Barkley averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Barkley was a one-time SEC Player of the Year and All-American, as well as an Olympic gold medal winner. Once in the NBA, Barkley continued to have remarkable success.
Barkley is one four NBA players who had 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. The others are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone.
“It is a terrific honor and is well-deserved,” Chuck Person, Pearl’s associate head coach who played with Barkley at Auburn, said. “After Charles left Auburn, Auburn basketball was synonymous with winning. It was a great era when Charles was here, and he catapulted Auburn into the national spotlight.
“More than anything, Charles Barkley has become a global icon and this award honors the contributions he has given to Auburn both on and off the floor. Charles definitely belongs with the Auburn greats of Bo Jackson, Cam Newton and Pat Sullivan. What an honor, and Auburn couldn’t have done this for a better man, my friend, Charles Barkley.”
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