Philadelphia 76ers legend Charles Barkley made some waves this week for a unique reason: his interest in the NHL playoffs.
And not just for gambling purposes.
Barkley took some time away from watching the NBA Finals to head to the Stanley Cup Finals to watch the Penguins take on the Predators in Nashville. That's where his early interest in hockey came up.
"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."
Well wind of Barkley's fandom in the Flyers goalie reached the now Flyers GM and the two appear to be fans of each other.
"I laughed when I heard that," Hextall told reporters today. "We had a bit of a relationship back in the day. He was at a lot of our games obviously. There's a mutual respect there. I certainly liked the way Charles played -- a hard game, very emotional, gave it all he had out on the court."
"I'm honored to be talked about by Charles for sure."
Hexy said he also enjoyed Chuck's golf game when the two crossed paths at a pro-am.
"I do remember seeing Charles play and I thought to myself, 'Jeez, I'm not going to be the worst one out here today.'"
Here's a clip of Chuck in Nashville: