Barkley advocates for Tahoe during 25th appearance at ACC |

Barkley advocates for Tahoe during 25th appearance at ACC

STATELINE, Nev. — Charles Barkley is rooting for Lake Tahoe and is excited to return for the 25th time in the American Century Championship.

The NBA Hall of Famer and TV analyst, who has developed a bond with local residents, is hoping that people will support Tahoe businesses despite not being able to watch the celebrity golf tournament in person this year.

“I want to give a shoutout to Lake Tahoe, I know they’ve had a difficult time,” Barkley said recently at a press conference. “And even though fans can’t come to the golf course, I really hope they come up and put some money into the city. A lot of people out there are going to lose their livelihood and the casinos are obviously at the mercy of all that also. So I’m just glad to be going to Lake Tahoe and thank NBC and American Century.”

Barkley also praised American Century for putting on the event and NBC for continuing to cover it.

He then flashed back to 13 years prior and the Angora Fire that burned over 3,000 acres and destroyed and damaged about 350 South Shore homes and structures.

“I want to give a shoutout to American Century, but also NBC,” Barkley said. “You know, I can always count on those guys at NBC. A few years ago we had those major fires, and I asked Jon Miller and those guys if I could take a camera up to where the houses burned down. He gave me his blessing, because I didn’t think it was fair that we came to Lake Tahoe and just have shits and giggles on the course and have a great time and gamble and do karaoke. So he gave me a camera, and I walked around for four, five hours and met with people who just lost their homes.”

Barkley hosted a dinner for local fire departments and also donated $100,000 to the Angora Fire Fund that benefited victims of the wildfire.

South Lake Tahoe Mayor in 2008, Mike Weber, proclaimed July 11 to be Charles Barkley Day in the city. Trees were also planted at the fire site and at Edgewood Tahoe in honor of Barkley.

Barkley is rumored to have lost his hitch in his golf swing. He said he’s bringing his A-game this year and guaranteed he won’t finish in last place in the 75-player field despite the 7500-to-1 odds.

“I’ll tell you this,” Barkley joked, “if the players are really smart, they’d all bet some money on me and let me win this thing, and we would break every casino in the world. That would be my suggestion to all the players, put a couple hundred dollars on me and find a way for me to win this thing. That would be a nice little check for them.

“But listen, I’m not going to win the thing, but I’m going to play well,” Barkley added. “I’m excited to get to Lake Tahoe. It’s such a wonderful place. And the people are fantastic up there. And hopefully, like I say, even though we won’t have crowds on the golf course, I hope the people in this area come to Lake Tahoe and support the casinos, because it’s been a really difficult time. There’s a lot of people that work in these places, in the bars and restaurants and waitresses and on the floors. I hope people still come and support Lake Tahoe.”

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