April 23, 2024


“That’s the painful thing about sports, and the great thing about sports.”
Charles Barkley used his customary comedy Friday night after his Auburn Tigers were beaten in the NCAA Tournament, but he swiftly turned serious to deliver a deeper lesson about athletics.

The No. 13 Yale Bulldogs rallied to defeat No. 4 Auburn 78–76. Later, on the March Madness: Road to the Final Four studio show, host Ernie Johnson discussed the game.

“We need to talk about what just happened with uh … one of our colleagues,” he continued.

“Oh, we don’t have to talk about it,” remarked Barkley, a former Auburn All-American.

“Oh, you know we’re going to,” Johnson added.

“OK,” Barkley said.

Barkley put on a serious face and congratulated Yale on its comeback from a huge disadvantage.

“I have to give Yale credit. They battled back, and we had a 10-point lead with seven minutes to go… “These kids made some tough shots,” he stated.

“Losing in the first round was extremely disheartening and frustrating. Shoutout to Yale, the Bulldogs. I never expected a Bulldog to beat a Tiger, but they did. Congratulations, Yale.

“I know that one stings for you Chuckster, truly we’re all buddies here, and we know how you bleed that blue and orange of Auburn,” Johnson went on to say.

“When you are a high seed and you’re expected (to win) and you don’t play well, that’s the thing about this tournament that never disappoints,” Barkley told ESPN. “Same thing with Florida (another upset defeat Friday, Colorado.)

“Nothing matters when the tournament begins. Consider this: fewer than five days ago, (Auburn) was on top of the world, and now all of that hard work has come to an end. That is both the unpleasant and positive aspect of sports. You do all that jogging and lifting in the summer, and it’s a long season, and then it’s all about March Madness. “You get a great seed, and it’s over so quickly.”

Barkley remarked on a media conference call last week that he couldn’t wait for the tournament to begin, stating, “It’s incredible. Every year, something happens that makes you say, ‘Wow, I’m glad I was there to see that.'”

The tournament is only a few days old, but Barkley has already been busy cracking jokes and imparting life lessons. During Thursday’s episode, when Johnson asked if he had stolen Kenny Smith’s notes, Barkley remarked, “You never cheat off the dumbest kid in school.” This is a lesson for you. Look at the brilliant kids if you’re going to cheat on their papers.”

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