Barkley, who was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame after a 16-year career playing forwards for various teams in the 1980s and 1990s, brought home two gold medals while playing for Team USA during the Olympic Games — once in 1992 in Barcelona and once in 1996 in Atlanta.
But as Barkley told local news station WJOX 94.5, the time has come to raid his family’s trophy room and put some of the proceeds to a good cause – a decision he came to after seeing the housing situation in his hometown of Leeds, Alabama. A median home in the suburb west of Birmingham is, according to Zillow, worth $160,887 while the average household income is $62,094.
“We probably got 30 eyesores, as I call them, where houses used to be when I was growing up,” Barkley told the station. “Either a rotted-out house or there’s just weeds that have overgrown.”
Barkley will be auctioning off the medals, trophy and other memorabilia with sports card company Panini in the hopes of raising enough money to build 20 affordable homes. He may keep one of the medals for his daughter, who said that she wanted it, but would otherwise sell what he could because “I don’t think I have to walk around with my gold medal or my MVP trophy for people to know I’m Charles Barkley.” Not long after he made the announcement about the donations, the NBA suspended its season due to the global coronavirus outbreak while Barkley announced that he was self-quarantining while waiting for the results of the test along with many others in similar situations.
“I want to do something really nice for Leeds,” he said. “And if I could build 10 to 20 affordable houses — I want to do green housing too — (and) if I could sell all that stuff, it would just be a really cool thing for me.”