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Charles Barkley celebrated his 50th birthday by living out many a quinquagenarian's dream — appearing on the long-running and popular CBS daytime game show, "The Price is Right."
Barkley appeared as part of the show's second annual "Celebrity Charity Week," which also featured the likes of Ozzy wife/competition judge Sharon Osbourne, Disney Channel personality turned competition judge/person with whom I am not entirely familiar Demi Lovato, legitimate Georgian housewife NeNe Leakes, and boy-band brothers Nick and Drew Lachey. (A completely perfect group for Sir Charles to join, obviously.) Host Drew Carey showed Barkley five items in some way related to him and — as tends to happen on "The Price is Right" — asked to identify their retail value without going over the correct price.
He couldn't get within $3 of the right mark for a DVD of "Look Who's Talking Now," in which he made a cameo playing basketball against a small child, or within $10,000 of the retail price of a Cadillac Escalade, but was in the ballpark on a pair of Nike Air Max Barkley sneakers, a "little black dress and a pair of size 15 heels" from his Weight Watchers commercial and a 1988 basketball card of TNT broadcast partner Kenny Smith. The cost for a 25-year-old cardboard, mustachioed "Jet" in Sacramento Kings powder blue? One dollar, 50 cents. (Ouch.)
By getting three answers right, Barkley won $300 for one lucky audience member. But beyond those winnings, Barkley was also racking up money for charity — specifically, the Mustard Seed School in Sacramento, Calif., a free, private school for homeless children between the ages of 3 and 15.
NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, thanks to a year my wife spent in Sacramento while involved with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, I know multiple people who have worked at Mustard Seed, including the school's director, Angela Hassell; I also went to college with Hassell. She is great, and so is the school.
Bill Lindelof of the Sacramento Bee has more:
When contestants won $11,000 trips to Tahiti or a new car, Barkley won the value of the prizes for Mustard Seed.
Halfway through the hourlong show, host Drew Carey announced that the school had already won $32,398. Barkley said, "I need a little more."
He was to get quite a bit more when the next contestant won, bringing the total to $41,996.
Then a contestant won a car, and Mustard Seed cashed in, bringing the total to about $59,000. After that, Barkley himself hit big money when the former All-Star known as "Sir Charles" spun a big wheel and won $8,000.
That brought the total for Mustard Seed to $67,633, which can go a really, really long way for a place that not only educates homeless kids, but provides them with food, clothing, shelter referrals, medical and dental screenings, immunization updates, counseling (for kids and their parents), help getting into/back into local public schools and more. As of yesterday, Hassell told the Bee's Lindelof, about 35 children were enrolled at Mustard Seed; kids typically stay for three weeks to a month while parents search for stable housing options, so turnover's pretty high, meaning the need's always there.
"We are thrilled," Hassell told Lindelof, and it's easy to understand why. Good on you, Charles, and big ups to the daughter of a Mustard Seed volunteer who works with Barkley's PR team and set him up with the children's charity. Good looking out.
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