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Former National Basketball Association star Charles Barkley is the luncheon keynote speaker at the Defining the Future Leadership Conference Oct. 5 in Montgomery. The conference, which is hosted by the Alabama Community Leadership Network and the Alabama Communities of Excellence, is at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center Oct. 5-6.

Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's most dominating power forwards. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team five times, the All-NBA Second Team five times and once to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned 11 NBA All-NBA appearances and was named the All-Star Most Valuable Player in 1991. In 1993, Barkley was voted the league's most valuable player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team. In 2006, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During his career, he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets.

Outspoken and outrageous, "Sir Charles" as he was affectionally known, played college basketball at Auburn University for three years under head basketball coach Sonny Smith. Barkley received numerous awards, including Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1984 and three All-SEC selections. Later, Barkley was named the SEC-Player of the Decade for the 1980s. He left Auburn before his final year and made himself eligible for the 1984 NBA draft. He was selected as the fifth pick in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Auburn retired Barkley's No. 34 jersey on March 3, 2001. That same month, the Philadelphia 76ers retired Barkley's jersey. In 2004, the Phoenix Suns honored Barkley by retiring his jersey and including him in the "Suns Ring of Honor."

Today, Barkley is a studio sports commentator on "Inside the NBA" on Turner Sports. He is also a private philanthropist and has donated heavily to children's causes. In addition, he has published several books and has also played himself in several movies, including "Space Jam," "He Got Game," and "The Year of the Yao."


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