In just two years, The World Games 2022 will officially be underway in Birmingham. To mark the occasion, the Birmingham Organizing Committee today announced that NBA Most Valuable Player Charles Barkley will serve as an honorary co-chair, ambassador, for the event.

Barkley will participate in several major events for The World Games 2022, including the Opening Ceremony. The basketball legend will also represent The Games, generating excitement and community support for the global event.

“It’s an honor to have a global icon and one of Alabama’s most beloved sports figures join us for this once-in-a-lifetime event for Birmingham,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The Word Games 2022. “You won’t find someone with a bigger, more exciting personality than Charles Barkley. His international status and love for the Birmingham community will take this event to the next level.”

Barkley, a native of Leeds, Alabama, and standout basketball player at Auburn University, went on to have a 16-year, Hall of Fame career in the NBA. During his 16-year career, Barkley was named an NBA All-Star 11 times, captured two Olympic gold medals with Team USA and was named league Most Valuable Player in 1993.

“I can’t think of a better individual for this world-class event than the legendary Charles Barkley,” added Mayor Randall Woodfin. “Not only is he known and respected internationally, he’s a son of Alabama and a proud ambassador for the Birmingham community. He represents both the athletic prowess and community pride that defines the World Games 2022.”

“I’ve always told anyone who would listen – and even those who wouldn’t – how great the state of Alabama and the Birmingham community are,” Barkley said. “Being able to be a part of an event like The World Games 2022 is another chance to show the world what this community and its people are all about. I’m excited to support this event, and am looking forward to trying my hand at Korfball.”

”The world is coming to Birmingham, and so Birmingham needs good companions and well-known friends,” said Joachim Gossow, CEO of the International World Games Association. ”We are pleased that Charles Barkley, a sportsman with a tremendous reputation, has agreed to be an Ambassador for The World Games 2022. Being a member of the US Basketball Dream Team at the Olympics in 1992, he knows best how a multi-sport event can inspire athletes and spark the fire within the host country.”

The Birmingham Organizing Committee has identified additional internationally known public figures with Alabama ties to join Barkley as honorary co-chairs, and plans to announce those – once official – in the coming months.

The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.