Basketball legend Charles Barkley has donated $1 million each to two Historically Black Colleges and Universities for their efforts in ALS research. Bethune-Cookman University in Florida and Jackson State University in Mississippi will each receive $1 million from the Hall of Famer.
Barkley made the donations in the name of his former Auburn University teammate Gary Godfrey, who was diagnosed with the disease in January 2019.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
“Gary is a good man,” Barkley said. “He’s been battling. He’s on his last legs, but he’s battling.”
Barkley made more than $43 million as an all-star NBA player. For the past 22 years, he has been a sports commentator for TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” In October, he signed a 10-year contract extension worth at least $100 million and possibly nearer to $200 million, New York Post reported.
In early December State State suffered the loss of its coach, former pro-baller Deion Sanders. His decision to take the top job at the University of Colorado sparked major backlash against the coach. Sanders left JSU after three seasons to become the head coach at the University of Colorado, a Power 5 program.
Barkley had previously lobbied for Sanders to replace Brian Harsin at Auburn. And, Barkley said he chose to donate to JSU “because of what Deion means to me as a friend,” he said. “They’re probably gonna take a little hit with him leaving, so I want to show them some love because, man, what he accomplished there was pretty extraordinary.”
Barkley has previously donated to Alabama A&M Huntsville, Morehouse College, and Miles College in Birmingham, among others, AL.com reported.
In this May 2, 2015, file photo, Charles Barkley joins the crowd before the start of the world welterweight championship bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)