World Games 2022 Birmingham names Charles Barkley as honorary co-chair — ‘Chance to show the world what this community and its people are all about’
The World Games 2022 Birmingham on Wednesday announced that NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley will serve as an honorary co-chair of the competition.
This international multisport event features sports and disciplines not included in the Olympics. The event is typically held one year after the Olympics.
Since the 2020 Olympics were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Games in Birmingham originally scheduled for 2021 were also pushed back a year.
Barkley starred collegiately at Auburn University before his storied career in the NBA. He is currently a prominent on-air analyst for TNT.
As an honorary World Games 2022 co-chair, Barkley will participate in several major events for the competition, including the opening ceremony. The basketball legend will also represent the Games, generating excitement and community support for the major global event.
“It’s an honor to have a global icon and one of Alabama’s most beloved sports figures join us for this once-in-a-lifetime event for Birmingham,” Nick Sellers, CEO of the Word Games 2022, said in a statement. “You won’t find someone with a bigger, more exciting personality than Charles Barkley. His international status and love for the Birmingham community will take this event to the next level.”
A native of Leeds, Alabama, Barkley’s 16-year professional career included being selected as an NBA All-Star 11 times, capturing two Olympic gold medals with Team USA and being named league MVP in 1993.
“I’ve always told anyone who would listen – and even those who wouldn’t – how great the state of Alabama and the Birmingham community are,” Barkley stated. “Being able to be a part of an event like The World Games 2022 is another chance to show the world what this community and its people are all about. I’m excited to support this event, and am looking forward to trying my hand at Korfball.”
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also applauded the selection of Barkley.
“I can’t think of a better individual for this world-class event than the legendary Charles Barkley,” he commented. “Not only is he known and respected internationally, he’s a son of Alabama and a proud ambassador for the Birmingham community. He represents both the athletic prowess and community pride that defines the World Games 2022.”
The World Games’ Birmingham Organizing Committee has reportedly identified additional internationally known public figures with Alabama ties to join Barkley as honorary co-chairs and plans to announce those – once official – in the coming months.
”The world is coming to Birmingham, and so Birmingham needs good companions and well-known friends,” Joachim Gossow, CEO of the International World Games Association, concluded. ”We are pleased that Charles Barkley, a sportsman with a tremendous reputation, has agreed to be an Ambassador for The World Games 2022. Being a member of the US Basketball Dream Team at the Olympics in 1992, he knows best how a multi-sport event can inspire athletes and spark the fire within the host country.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn