The trademark humor and candor of basketball great Charles Barkley was in full swing yesterday as the Hall of Fame candidate discussed motivation, his philanthropy, and took audience questions on topics ranging from basketball and golf to the most influential person in his life.
Barkley, whose speech was sponsored by Voila IP, garnered a number of laughs from the packed house with his anecdotes about unnamed fellow basketball players, and applause for his openness about the entities to which he donates millions of dollars every year. “I love giving away money because that’s what the Lord blessed me to do,” he said.
Barkley plans to help rebuild at least two of the churches destroyed by arson recently in Alabama, and he intends to donate $1 million to his alma mater, Auburn University. He also has purchased “millions of dollars’ worth of houses” in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans in hopes of helping residents there get back on their feet. Barkley noted this to massive applause.
Barkley also talked about motivation, telling attendees to put themselves in positions of success. “We don’t know what we can do,” he said, noting that he started playing basketball just to “get out of trouble” and stay out of jail, only to one day find himself playing in the NBA.
After his speech, Barkley took several questions. When one audience member asked who has had the most positive impact on his life, Barkley promptly responded, to a round of laugher, “My grandmother. She always told me, ‘Don’t do anything to embarrass the family.’ Obviously, I screwed that up many times.”
Voila IP also had Barkley autograph two basketballs, which were given away at the end of the player’s presentation.