You won’t find a bigger Auburn Tigers fan than Charles Barkley, the Naismith Hall of Famer, who was immortalized with a statue in front of Auburn Arena prior to the 2017-18 season.
Barkley was in attendance on Saturday night as Kentucky escaped with a 82-80 win over the Tigers in a battle of ranked SEC teams. With the heartbreaking loss still fresh in his mind, Barkley made his way to the media room to interrupt UK Coach John Calipari’s postgame press conference.
The short, friendly exchange ended with a handshake as laughter erupted throughout the room.
“F*** John Calipari” pic.twitter.com/Nd9BHrMHaI— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) January 19, 2019
Charles Barkley walks into Cal's presser, interrupts. Cal makes a joke about Barkley, who says, "I was yelling at you, too (during the game). I was saying, 'Fuck John Calipari.' " They have a big laugh and handshake and move on. Ha, welp.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) January 19, 2019
Calipari did get in a subtle jab when he asked, “Where’s the statue (located)?”. During the ESPN broadcast, Barkley had previously told Dick Vitale that his only requirement was that his likeness be “skinny” rather than taking the mold of his NBA nickname, “The Round Mound of Rebound”.
Since 2000, Barkley has served as a studio analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT) and is also part of the popular Inside the NBA postgame show. On Saturday night, Barkley joined Vitale to talk about a wide variety of topics, including his relationship with Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl, the state of the NBA, and why he thinks Calipari is one of the game’s best coaches.
Barkley, an 11-time NBA all-star, scored over 1,100 career points and grabbed over 800 career rebounds in a three-year career at Auburn. He was named SEC Player of the Year for the 1983-84 season.