Barkley said that he decided to donate after seeing the college’s impact on the daughter of John Hudson, his business partner and friend. Jordyn Hudson, most notably, premiered a documentary, “Shape the Culture: Then & Now,” which tells the story of the Birmingham civil rights movement and attempts to make its history relevant to the youth, an impressive undertaking for a college sophomore that caught Barkley’s attention. “John has been a great mentor, a great friend, and a great business partner,” Charles Barkley told AL.com. “I was ready to do another HBCU and with his daughter doing great things at Spelman, so I told him, ‘Why not there?’” In response, John Hudson said that, while people are aware of Barkley’s athletic accomplishments, he believes that few knows how the retired NBA star is focused on his business and philanthropy.
As reported by HBCU Gameday, Charles Barkley has previously pledged $1 million each to Alabama A&M, Tuskegee University, Miles College, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University. His donation to Spelman College will be his sixth substantive donation to a historically Black college or university (HBCU). “What can you say about someone who is so giving and charitable with their resources with all they’ve accomplished?” John Hudson said. “He has a special place in his heart for Black women; I’ve seen him invest in Black female-owned companies. This is just another indication of Charles investing in something that is close to his heart.”