Q&A With Charles Barkley at Tony Barbee's Basketball Camp
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Charles Barkley with Tony Barbee
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Charles Barkley with Tony Barbee
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

July 2, 2011


Q&A by: Michael Stagno

On being invited to Tony Barbee's Camp ...
"I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about the new facility, but most importantly, about the enthusiasm of the coaching staff. They really want to turn this thing around."

On the Auburn players showing improvement ...
"The bottom line is their track record. They have reached out to older players, which we want to be a part of the program, and to be honest, it's the first time they've really reached out to us. We want our school to do well, let me rephrase that, we want our basketball team to do well. We're proud of what our football team accomplished, but we want Auburn basketball to do better. I thank them for reaching out to us because we want to be a part of this."

On Auburn ...
"Auburn is a unique place. I've been all over the world and people scream, `war eagle' at me all over the place. It's really a unique place."

On Mike Mitchell ...
"It's funny, Mike, I didn't know him that well, but one of the first things he did for me was welcome me to the NBA and spent a little time with me. I've been in contact with his family, and it's unfortunate, because I know he had been struggling for a while, but he died too young. That is part of the Auburn tradition though as I still stay in touch with guys like, Paul Daniels, Gerald White, I spent some time with Evan Bufford, I talk to Greg Turner all the time, he's doing fantastic."

On NBA Lockout ...
"It's going to get ugly. I've already been on record saying that I don't think they're going to play at all next season. I'll be honest with you, I always pull for the players, but I do think the owners have some legitimate concerns. We've been in a recession and the only thing that hasn't gone down is players' salaries. You can think the owners are full of it, but in fairness to them, considering the recession and these long-term deals being handed out, it's going to get ugly. I do think that we are going to loose less money not playing. I feel bad for the fans, for the players, but there are some legitimate economic concerns."

On speaking mind publically as a player ...
"When you are a player, you have to just toe the line. Whether you are on television or part of the media, you have to remain fair and balanced. Depending on what job you have, you think you're way is right. When you have to be objective, you sit back and think to yourself all these players are crazy. When you're doing news on TV or writing for the newspaper, you have to be honest and objective and that's not easy."

On Auburn basketball this past season ...
"I don't count the first year for any coach. There's a reason the last coach got fired. To me, I know it technically was Tony's first year, but I always tell people, there's a reason why the other got fired, he didn't have enough good players. Tony has had a chance to recruit and I expect them to be much better this year. I think it's unfair to judge any coach by another coach who just got fired because he hasn't really had a recruiting cycle. Auburn got better as the season went on. They had some big wins in the final stretch of the season and they had a lot of close games. That tells me the players didn't pack it in. That was what I was watching for more than anything. They were very competitive down the stretch. A lot of players are motivated off of emotions, so when you watch that team play in the beginning to late in the season, you could tell that Barbee had those kids engaged when a lot of teams would just pack it in."

On Coach Barbee being happy in Auburn ...
"I do. I think that he's happy. I think he's excited about the new arena. Right now, there's a great vibe in the city with everything football has done and you can't not be excited as an Auburn person. There's great energy here and it's going to be interesting to see what happens. with the football team losing so many good players. Coach Chizik did a fantastic job, but Cam Newton and Nick Fairley-type players don't grow on trees. There is a great energy here right now."

On being at Auburn at same time with guys like, Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, etc ...
"You know, I spent last week with Bo. We were playing golf all week at Joe Carter's golf tournament in Canada. We both called each other `number two' because of a debate on who is the greatest jock in Auburn history. We had so much fun. Bo arrived a day ahead of me and he had everyone calling me, `number two' and it's all fun, but I've told people, watching Bo Jackson play is one of the highlights of my life. It's a big school with a small-town feel. You would never think there is 20,000 students here while you're here. You always feel special when you're here."

On amount of talent at Tony Barbee's Basketball Camp ...
"Think about the talent level here. Thinking back to when I played here, I don't remember coming to an event or camp or whatever you want to call it with this amount of talent. I've been down here for a long time, but I can't remember when we've had the caliber of players or even guys who wanted to come down here before. You have to give the coaching staff a lot of credit. I've already met a few guys that are committed to Auburn. It's pretty cool that they came down here."