Former Auburn basketball player Charles Barkley speaks outside Auburn Arena, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, during a statue dedication ceremony before the Iron Bowl in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett /AL.com via AP)
Charles Barkley had trouble expressing how much Auburn erecting a statue of him means to himself and his family.
The former Auburn basketball star and Hall of Famer wasn't at a loss for words on other topics, though, from the Iron Bowl to Bruce Pearl's job status and how Arkansas handled the firing of Bret Bielema.
The school unveiled the statue in front of Auburn Arena a few hours before kickoff of the Alabama-Auburn game.
"I don't even know the words to put it in perspective," Barkley said. "Just really cool of Auburn to do it for me. That's all I can say."
Bo Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, ex-Auburn coach Sonny Smith and athletic director Jay Jacobs took the podium during the ceremony. So did Pearl and some Auburn basketball players.
Jackson, who already has a statue outside Jordan-Hare Stadium, took off an Auburn sweatshirt to reveal a T-shirt declaring: "Charles Barkley Mine is Bigger than Yours."
Barkley spoke to reporters afterward on a variety of subjects:
_Pearl's job status during an internal review of his program following the arrest of ex-assistant Chuck Person on federal charges.
"I'm going to support Auburn, No. 1," Barkley said. "Then I'm supporting Bruce Pearl. I don't understand all the stuff that's going on with the NCAA, to be honest with you. I want to know why Bruce Pearl is the only coach on the hot seat. There was four universities busted. I want to know why Bruce Pearl is the only one they're giving a hard time to. I don't understand that. Let the situation play out and the chips will fall where they may. But I think it will be disastrous for Auburn to fire their coach in the middle of the season."
_On the Iron Bowl. Barkley was the guest picker on ESPN's GameDay and picked his Tigers.
"I think it's going to be a low-scoring contest and we're going to have to try to find a way to score 21 or 24 points," he said later. "They've probably got 12 running backs but they're going to try to slow the game down because those injuries have taken a toll on their defense. If you try to outscore Auburn, I don't think you're going to do that. But I think (Alabama coach Nick) Saban's the greatest college football coach ever and I think he's going to make it a possession game."
On Arkansas firing Bielema in the minutes after a loss to Missouri on Friday. "It was just crazy what they did to Bret Bielema last night, firing the guy as he was walking off the field. That's just ridiculous and no class. Anybody that's thinking about taking that Arkansas job, that should take up a red flag to them. There's no need to fire a guy as he's walking off the field. There's no rush. I mean, that's just low-class. But these coaches today, the BS they have to deal with is amazing."