BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The way he describes it, Charles Barkley is getting rid of “all the crap trophies” he’s ever won.
To his hometown of Leeds, this could be much more.
Over the last few days, the Hall of Fame athlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist has made the media rounds, announcing that he plans to sell a large part of his memorabilia he’s received over his career, including his 1996 Olympic gold medal and his NBA Most Valuable Player trophy.
During an appearance on CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Barkley explained why he was selling such prized possessions.
“So I’m from a small town in Alabama called Leeds and it’s a really small town and we need some new housing, probably 30 to be exact,” he said. “And I’m going to sell all of my memorabilia. I’ll keep the ’92 (Olympic medal) for my daughter, but I got a bunch of good stuff.”
While Barkley has long given back to causes and people close to him in Alabama, the TNT sports analyst has spent the better part of a year giving back in big ways. Last year, he donated $1 million to Miles College and another $1 million to Alabama A&M in Huntsville.
Leeds Mayor David Miller said he is not familiar with what Barkley has planned for the city regarding new housing.
“Our understanding that this is a project he has of his own,” Miller said. “He has not made contact with the city.”
Nonetheless, Miller said he is excited for the way Barkley has given back to his hometow
“Obviously, the city would be tickled to death for that to happen,” he said.
Miller agreed with Barkley about how some areas of Leeds have fallen into blight. Over the last few months, there have been plans to redevelop the area behind the former Moulton High School and turn it into affordable senior housing.
This is not Barkley’s first gift to Leeds. Nearly 20 years ago, Barkley donated $1 million to the Leeds School System to provide scholarships to exceptional students. Miller said there is still money from that gift that is continuing to help students.
“He’s a fine person and we’re very proud to call him ours,” he said. “I’m interested to see what the scope of what he’s talking about is and what is going on out here.”
Miller said the city would be open with working with Barkley on future city projects.
No details have been released as to what Barkley’s planned sale will look like or when it will take place.
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