Charles Barkley is many things: a basketball Hall of Famer, a former NBA MVP, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and, as he reminded everyone on TNT Wednesday night, a huge hockey fan.
Barkley has spoken about his fondness for the sport numerous times, which he says began in the 1980s.
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As such, he was called in to help christen TNT’s new hockey coverage, and he quickly had a bit of fun with Hockey Hall of Famer and new studio analyst Wayne Gretzky. The duo talked about Barkley’s hockey fanaticism, while Chuck gave the team a warm welcome to the net.
When the conversation turned to physicality and fights in their respective sports, Barkley quickly changed his tune to take some personable shots against Gretzky: “The Great One” got into just two fights in his illustrious NHL career, both from. more than 30 years. behind. It wasn’t Gretzky’s fighting ability, or lack of it, that Barkley scoffed at, it wasn’t even necessarily that Gretzky lost.
It was who he lost, and his hairstyle:
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Gretzky lost that fight to Neal Broten in a 1982 game between Gretzky’s Oilers and Broten’s North Stars (then based in Minnesota and now on the Dallas team). Barkley was quick to point out Broten’s perm which, being the ’80s, wasn’t an entirely surprising look. Gretzky was a good athlete about it, acknowledging the humor of the situation and even adding some background: he had just been honored as Sports Illustrated’s Athlete of the Year earlier that day and while in the penalty area he looked and did the same. . Canadian thing, apologize to the American breads.
Don’t worry though, as Gretzky finally had the last word against Barkley during the first intermission of Wednesday’s Rangers-Capitals game on TNT.
He was teased during the pregame festivities, but once the first intermission came, Barkley entered the net and had to stop five shots from Gretzky. He opted not to use pads and took an unconventional approach that ultimately paid off for Gretzky:
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The broadcast was TNT’s first, and the Barkley and Gretzky tandem garnered rave reviews. Given Barkley’s hockey fanaticism and the fact that it’s an integral part of NBA coverage on the net, don’t be surprised to see Barkley back in the NHL studios in no time.