What does Nick Saban really think about Auburn?
That’s what AL.com set out to answer with Part 3 of its interview series between former Auburn basketball star Charles Barkley and the Alabama football coach.
Barkley, who was raised in Alabama before making his choice to play for the Tigers, quizzed Saban on how he feels about the rivalry now as opposed to the perception he may have had about it prior to taking the Crimson Tide coaching job.
Saban acknowledged that he has been a part of some other great rivalries that share the same type of intensity, but did pinpoint how the Alabama-Auburn rivalry differed a bit from the rest.
“People grow up in this state one way or the other,” Saban explained to Barkley. “And they have a lot of passion and they don’t have a lot of other choices. There’s not an NFL team, there’s not an NBA basketball team. So, everybody relates to one of these two schools and there’s a lot of passion for it. There’s a lot of tradition at both places. I have a lot of respect for Auburn and I appreciate, to be honest with you, the things we have been able to do together– for people.”
Saban went on to reference the times that the state has come together regardless of school affiliation, like when Tuscaloosa was struck with a devastating tornado. He went on to say that he draws the line at competition, and wants to be able to work together with Auburn to help people in the state of Alabama.
In a rivalry that probably needs to hear voices of reason from time to time, this interview series between Barkley and Saban has been a good example for how Auburn and Alabama representatives can interact with mutual respect.