Charles Barkley popped up in Nashville to take in the Stanley Cup Final and like a lost episode of Pro Stars. Sir Charles hooked up with Wayne Gretzky to talk NBA vs NHL playoffs and his admiration for hockey that began in Alabama.
“I started following hockey actually in Birmingham, Alabama,” Barkley said. “They had a team called the Bulls back in the day. That was my first recollection of hockey. Then when I got to Philadelphia, my favorite hockey player of all time is Ron Hextall. I got to know him and Eric Lindros going to a bunch of Flyers games. Then Mike Wilbon, one of my mentors, takes me to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Blackhawks the last few years.
“I was in Alabama and I’m here, I’m talking to J.R. (Jeremy Roenick), who I talk to quite a bit, he’s my neighbor in Arizona, and he’s like, ‘Man, you’ve got to come to Nashville for a game.’ He said, ‘It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.’ Then I get a really nice call from Commissioner Bettman and he says, ‘Hey, for all the nice things you’ve been saying about hockey, come to a game.’ So I said, ‘Hey, I got nothing to do.’ ”
More of Charles Barkley on the Stanley Cup Final: