When Charles Barkley speaks, you have to wonder what is reality and what is exaggeration. The ex-Auburn and NBA star is no stranger to controversial statements because a) he loves to hear himself talk and b) he doesn’t take himself or — it seems — anything else too seriously.
That’s what makes him fantastic on TNT’s NBA coverage.
Unfortunately, it’s also what makes him the worst thing possible for Auburn’s image as well as — now — the SEC’s reputation.
CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish brought our attention to a short video of Barkley — hamming it up as a storyteller in an informal setting — in which he claims that he tried to buy current NBA star Dirk Nowitzki for his alma mater many years ago:
“So I call Nike and I says, “Find out about this kid and tell him I’ll give him anything he wants to go to Auburn. Just tell him, anything he wants, we’ll get it done.”
Barkley claims Nowitzki scored “like 52″ on Scottie Pippen while playing as a soon-to-be-drafted German teenager, which prompted his interest.
Worse that the statement above, however, Barkley also said:
“(Nowitzki) would have fit right in in the SEC. In the SEC, dude, we make sure you’re well taken care of.”
Oh, Mike Slive will love that comment bouncing around the internet today. But was Barkley joking? Nearly 30 years removed from his playing days in the SEC, does he even know what today’s Southeastern Conference is like? Well, he sure chimed in on the Cam Newton situation as if he did — albeit in a lighthearted manner:
“Everybody wants to give us a hard time about giving Cam Newton $200,000. That’s called a good damn investment. We got him for 200 grand? Are you kidding me? That’s a good deal!”
No, most likely that’s just Barkley being Barkley. But it’s also a nightmare on the PR front for Auburn and for the Southeastern Conference.
And It’s also going to be taken as Gospel truth handed down from on high by Alabama fans looking for any reason at all to throw a bit more mud at their hated rivals.
Here’s the clip (with some obscenities):