AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - He's in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, he's a two-time Olympic gold medalist, MVP of the NBA as well as an 11-time All-Star, and now Charles Barkley has his own statue back at his alma mater.
Saturday afternoon Barkley had his own statue unveiled outside Auburn Arena where the basketball team plays its games. The Leeds native played at Auburn from 1981-1984, and earned All-American Honors during his time. According to Auburn Athletics, Barkley's No. 34 jersey was retired in 2001.
Before he was the fifth pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, Barkley graced the Plains of Auburn for three years. In those three years, Barkley scored over 1,100 career points, and grabbed over 800 career rebounds. He was the SEC Player of the Year in his third and final year at Auburn, averaging just over 15 points per game and nine-and-a-half rebounds.
Barkley went on to have a successful 16-year NBA career where he played with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. He was a member of the famed "Dream Team" that won gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona as well.
"I want to thank auburn, this man Jay [Jacobs], thank you for everything you did for Auburn and for me," said Barkley.
Barkley's statue depicts Barkley in his time as an Auburn Tiger. Bo Jackson, who has a statue of his own at the university, and current Auburn Men's Basketball coach Bruce Pearl were on hand for the unveiling. Sonny Smith, Barkley's coach during his time at Auburn, was also present.
Of his old coach, Barkley had something sentimental to say.
"Coach Smith you know I love you like a father. You mean the world to me, you and your wife," Barkley said.
Barkley was this week's Celebrity Guest Picker on College Gameday ahead of Saturday's Iron Bowl and of course he went with the Tigers.