Charles Barkley, an NBA Hall of Famer and current NBA analyst on TNT, usually lets his mouth do all of the talking. But recently his wallet took the driver's seat and headed straight to Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Barkley announced his intention to make a $1 million gift to Morehouse College. In that same announcement, he pledged similar support to Auburn University (his alma mater) and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Say what you want about some of his opinions; with these moves, Barkley is proving that he wants to give back and show his support. Unbeknownst to many, Charles has been involved with the program since 2011, when students from the college started to visit him at the TNT studios in Atlanta, setting the stage for his eventual donation to the school.
Per the release on Morehouse's site, "The gift to Morehouse will benefit the College’s burgeoning Journalism and Sports Program (JSP) that was initiated in 2007. Since its inception, this program has sent 40 of its students into the media workforce, while 17 have earned master’s degrees in journalism or related fields, including six at Columbia University."
Currently, nearly 65 percent of professional football players and 80 percent of professional basketball players are black; yet only 8 percent of newspaper sports journalists are African American. In response to this phenomenon, JSP was conceived by veteran filmmaker and Morehouse alumnus Spike Lee and his friend, the late Ralph Wiley, one of the nation’s first African American sports columnists.
JSP’s director, Ron Thomas, joyfully reacted to this surprise announcement. “We aim to produce the media’s next generation of image makers, from columnists to digital specialists, covering a wide variety of news and marketing positions,” he said. “Charles Barkley has always been very generous to students in our Journalism and Sports Program on a personal level. I am thrilled that Charles has greatly extended his generosity by donating $1 million to address our growing needs.”
Morehouse President John S. Wilson Jr. offered a similar response. “We are profoundly grateful for this contribution,” he said. “ Beyond its immediate impact, we hope that it will catalyze additional strategic investments in and beyond this impressive program.”
Barkley made the announcement during a conference call for the American Century Championship’s celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe earlier this week. Full details of the gift are still being worked out between Morehouse and Barkley.
To learn more about the Morehouse Journalism and Sports Program, go to http://www.morehouse.edu/academics/journalism/index.html.