LAKELAND, Fla. - NBA Hall of Famer and current Turner Sports basketball analyst Charles Barkley made his annual appearance in Lakeland at the 13th annual Barkley, Bean, Bryant and Friends Celebrity Skins Game at the YMCA Par 3.

Since 2005, the Round Mound of Rebound has participated in the event, which benefits The First Tee of Lakeland's junior golf program.

Champions Tour golfers and Lakeland residents Andy Bean and Brad Bryant serve on the board of directors for The First Tee.

Our news partners at the Lakeland Ledger report Friday's event raised about $180,000 this year.

"Thank all of the sponsors, especially Publix," Barkley said. "You guys, ya'll asked me, I met you at an Auburn football game and {they said}, 'come play in the tournament.'

"I said, 'where the hell is Lakeland, Florida, anyway?"

Barkley called playing in the tournament was "one of the best decisions he made in his life."

The 55-year-old also posed for a photo with Lakeland police officers.

The Lakeland Police Department tweeted, "Hanging out with #CharlesBarkley yesterday... um yeah our Friday was awesome!! Thanks for spending a little time with our officers Sir Charles!"

Related: Nick Saban visits Lakeland Senior High School

Video recorded by Ledger reporter Brady Fredericksen shows a marked improvement in Barkley's golf swing.

Go to the Lakeland Ledger's website to read the full story.

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