By LARRY VAUGHT
Of all the memorable games that Kenny Walker played during his All-American career at the University of Kentucky the first one I usually remember is No. 3 UK’s 1984 win over unranked Auburn in the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Auburn had two great players — Charles Barkley and Chuck Person. Kentucky’s roster had Sam Bowie, Melvin Turpin, Jim Master, Dicky Beal, Winston Bennett, James Blackmon, Bret Bearup and Walker.
It was a defensive slugfest won 51-49 by Kentucky. Person and Barkley both had 14 points for Auburn while Turpin had 13, Walker 12 and Master 10 for Kentucky. Walker was the game’s leading rebounder with nine.
What made the game so memorable was not only Walker hitting the game-winning shot just before the final buzzer but Barkley sitting on the court crying after the shot went in. Walker remembers it well, too.
“It never fails to come up when I am doing a postgame show with Larry Glover (on WVLK). Four or five times a year somebody will call and remember that night in 1984 when you made game-winning shot to make Charles Barkley cry,” Walker laughed and said.
“I love him and have known him since high school. A lot of UK fans do not like him because he was a bully and talked trash but he could back it up and was fun to play against.
‘He was just a big teddy bear. I mess with him every time I see him now and ask him about remembering Nashville in 1984. He is still feeling it after all these years, too. I think it still hurts him and I get that but it also makes me smile every time I see him and think about it.”