Charles Barkley may soon be lauded as much for his philanthropy as his prodigious athletic achievements and no-holes-barred media voice—if not more so. The former Auburn star and NBA Hall of Famer told AL.com on Thursday that he will donate $1 million to Spelman College in Atlanta, the sixth significant donation he has made to a historically Black college or university.
Barkley chose Spelman after seeing the impact the prestigious institution is having on the daughter of his friend and business partner John Hudson. Jordyn Hudson will be a sophomore this fall and will serve as class president. Last summer, she premiered her documentary, “Shape the Culture: Then & Now,” which connects today’s youth activists with those who, as young people, participated in civil rights marches in the 1960s.
“John has been a great mentor, a great friend, and a great business partner,” Barkley said from Lake Tahoe, where he is participating in a celebrity golf event. “I was ready to do another HBCU and with his daughter doing great things at Spelman, so I told him, ‘Why not there?’”
“People are aware of Charles from TNT and his NBA stardom, but I don’t think people are aware of how focused he is on philanthropy and entrepreneurism,” John Hudson said. “He knows how committed Jordyn is to Spelman and has seen how it has transformed her worldview.”
In 2016, Barkley pledged $1 million each to Alabama A&M in Huntsville and Clark Atlanta University. In 2017, he pledged $1 million to Morehouse College in Atlanta. In 2020, he pledged $1 million each to Miles College in Birmingham and Tuskegee University.
Last summer, the 1981 Leeds High School graduate, gifted $1,000 to each Leeds City Schools employee. He also arranged for students to receive 200 computers and free Internet service for a year.
“What can you say about someone who is so giving and charitable with their resources with all they’ve accomplished?” John Hudson added. “He has a special place in his heart for Black women; I’ve seen him invest in Black female-owned companies. This is just another indication of something investing in something that is close to his heart.”