“An Evening with Charles Barkley,” that took place on Tuesday, October 1, was a resounding success.
Students from all over campus and in the sports communication and media (CAM) major had an incredible time listening to Barkley talk about his life, his NBA career and his stories about Shaquille O’Neal and others.
Charles Barkley was introduced by his long-time friend and new director of The Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact, Neil Hartman.
Barkley came out to a standing ovation and started out the event with, “Y’all have a beautiful campus!” which continued the big applause.
Barkley was asked some questions by Hartman, about his life, his time in the NBA, his thoughts on student athletes getting paid and then followed up with some questions from the audience.
“Charles Barkley is bigger in person,” said sophomore and sports CAM major, Connor Cassidy. “I’m so happy I had the opportunity to witness not just an NBA legend, but a pop culture icon talk about his life and career at Rowan.”
“I thought it was really cool for the school to bring a guy like Charles here to speak to us,” said sports CAM senior, Colton Gesser.
In an interview with Vince Scian, sports editor at The Whit, when asked about why he came to do this event, even though he famously said he isn’t a role model, Barkley didn’t mince words.
“Well I do a lot of speaking, and when people ask me [about it, I say], ‘I’m very proud of the role model commercial. You know, when I made the commercial, it was obviously controversial. I’d like to get a chance to explain what I meant,” Barkley said. “Speaking at a bunch of schools, I was concerned that black kids thought they could only be successful through sports and entertainment. I want them to know they can be doctors, lawyers, engineers, firemen, policemen, things like that. So it’s just a starting point for this conversation.”
During the event itself, Barkley gave plenty of sound bytes, as he does regularly on NBA on TNT. He spent a lot of time joking about his co-host, Shaq, talked about his time filming Space Jam, his time with the “Dream Team,” his thoughts on the upcoming NBA season and much more.
His most controversial comment was probably when he said that LeBron James was the seventh best player of all time, as you heard multiple people in the crowd disagree. Even the student who asked him the question cut him off and said, “I disagree,” at one point during his top-10 list.
At the end of the event, Barkley stayed for a few minutes, taking pictures and signing autographs for students, before walking off the stage to yet another ovation. The event was a huge success, and will hopefully lead to other events in the future.
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