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'Let them talk': Charles Barkley defends his viral, now-improved golf swing

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Attention, trash talkers: No, your 90-year-old grandma can't throw better than Tom Brady. She also can't shoot better than LeBron James or hit better than Mike Trout. 

Until recently, however, she may have been able to golf better than Charles Barkley — but the basketball legend has gotten some help, and can no longer lay claim to the worst golf swing in America.

Barkley, an NBA Hall of Famer, has also cemented himself in golf lore, albeit unintentionally. He first picked up a club during his basketball career when a Philadelphia 76ers teammate invited him out on an off day and was "completely hooked." He kept up golfing in retirement, but videos of his questionable tee shots and hitches in his swing soon began making the rounds, prompting viral criticism and jokes. 

"Is my golf swing really all that interesting to be such a hot topic?" he told AOL Sports, on behalf of AleveX, of his first reaction to the newfound viral status. "And a topic that seems to continue to follow me!"

(Photo courtesy AleveX)
(Photo courtesy AleveX)

Professional PGA golfer Max Homa, also a smack talk aficionado, was among those poking fun at Barkley. 

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The noted trash-talker didn't let the jabs get to him, though.

"I see all the joking that goes around and hear it from my friends on the course," Barkley said, "but I say, let them talk."

And talk they did, until more recent videos showed that Barkley's "turrible" swing had improved significantly

"I’m shooting in the mid-80s," he said of his game today. "Improving my swing was something I wanted to do for myself. It didn’t have anything to do with what was being said about me on the internet, I don’t care about that."

Even Homa, who has kept his eye on Barkley's golf swing for "a while" and says there's still "plenty of room" to roast him, admitted that the NBA icon-turned-analyst had made some helpful changes to his game. 

"I have to say, I have seen some improvement," Homa said, just ahead of his first Open Championship appearance. "His swing has a much better tempo to it which will always help with one’s transition. That is where he has struggled the most in the past."

Fans who want to have their own swings roasted via video chat with Barkley and Homa can now enter AleveX's competition to find the worst golf swing in America — since that title no longer belongs to Barkley. Budding golfers can submit their videos on social media using the hashtags #SwingIntoAleveX and #Sweepstakes until August 18 to win. 

"I'm excited to see the swings people submit," Barkley said of the sweepstakes. "Especially now that I've improved a bit, someone's got to be worse than me!"

Both Homa ("I tend to get tight in the same areas every time") and Barkley ("I’m 58 and played professional basketball for 16 seasons, everything hurts") praise AleveX as an effective solution for pain while on the golf course. 

As for the one piece of advice that most helped Barkley's game, he says it's simple: "Hit good shots!"

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