|NBA basketball star Charles Barkley gives mascot Aubie a
hug during a visit to Auburn. Even though Barkley passed up his senior
college season to join the Philadelphia 76ers, he remained in 1996 the
school's top career shot blocker with 145 and field-goal percentage shooter
at .626. Barkley was honored as the Southeastern Conference Player
of the Decade for the 1980s by the Birmingham Post-Herald. In 1984,
he became the first Auburn player chosen SEC Player of the Year, selected
by both the Associated Press and United Press International. Barkley
was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player in leading the Phoenix Suns to
second place in the championship playoff in 1992-93. Through 1995,
he played in nine consecutive NBA All-Star Games. He was a USA basketball
"dream team" member and won Olympic gold medals in both 1992 and 1996.
By the mid-1990s, Barkley had contributed more than $100,000 to establish
a scholarship for minority students at Auburn, his financial advisor said.
-- Photo: AU University Relations