We all know that illegal recruiting is commonplace in the world of collegiate athletics, but most people prefer not to talk about it. Charles Barkley enjoys talking about everything. At a celebrity softball game over the weekend, Barkley was telling a story in the locker room while his teammates listened attentively and cameras captured the action. Sir Charles spoke about the time he first met Dirk Nowitzki, which was during a Team USA exhibition game against Germany back in 1997. Dirk was only 19 at the time, but he managed to torch Team USA for 42 points and 17 rebounds with Scottie Pippen guarding him the majority of the game.
Needless to say, Barkley was impressed — so impressed that he claims he committed a series of recruiting violations to try to convince Dirk to attend Auburn.
“I said, ‘where you going to play at?'”, Barkley explained as SB Nation’s Starting Five pointed out. “He said, ‘I have to go in the army.” I said, ‘you can’t go in the army playing like that.’ So I call Nike and I said, ‘find out about this kid and tell him I’ll give him anything he wants to go to Auburn. Just tell him, anything he wants, we’ll get it done.’
“…In the SEC, dude, we make sure you’re well taken care of.”
Still think he’s joking? If you remember, we shared almost the exact same story with you a year ago when Barkley said he would have written Dirk a blank check to play for Auburn. He also went on to say that Cam Newton was a “damn good investment” if Auburn only paid him $200,000, which is exactly what L.B. expected he might say about that topic. As far as illegal recruiting is concerned, Barkley holds no limits. He admits he has taken money from agents and he’s obviously offered it to guys to try to influence their future decisions. That’s just how he rolls.Google+