Charles Barkley Thanks His Auburn Education After Winning Spelling Bet With Shaquille O'Neal

“That Auburn education pulled me through, America!”

Shaq and Charles Barkley
Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

TNT's NBA coverage on October 25 included a spontaneous spelling bee.

Charles Barkley's interesting pronunciation of the word "spectacular" during Inside the NBA inspired his friend and co-host Shaquille O'Neal to issue him a challenge. Shaq bet the former Auburn star $10,000 that he couldn't spell "spectacular."

Barkley appeared to be thinking hard (while fighting giggles) before admitting that he needed to write it down in order to spell it.

Kenny Smith peeked over his shoulder as Barkley scribbled something down. Smith shook his head. "It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong," he said as both men devolved into laughter. Shaq and Ernie Johnson Jr. chuckled in their seats, but Smith was laughing so hard that he had to get up and walk away.

While Barkley's first attempt missed the mark, he eventually landed on the correct sequence of letters. He spelled "spectacular" aloud for Johnson Jr.

"Perfect!" confirmed Johnson Jr.

Pleased to have proven himself, Barkley sat up straight.

"Let me look at that camera right now," Barkley said. "I haven't had that much to brag on this year, but let me go ahead and say it: War Damn Eagle. That Auburn education pulled me through, America!"

Barkley, a native of Leeds, Alabama, played three years for the Auburn University Tigers before entering the NBA his junior year.

Johnson Jr. once asked Barkley if he ever graduated from Auburn, to which the power forward famously replied: "No, but I have a couple people working for me who did."

You tell 'em, Charles!

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