Charles Barkley takes up Bettman's invitation to Cup Final

NHL playoffs

NHL playoffs

Now a basketball TV analyst, Barkley took advantage of a day off in the NBA Finals and accepted National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman's invitation to come watch the Stanley Cup final in person.

Charles Barkley, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets during his 16-year career and a member of The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, has been touting his love for the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Turner Sports' broadcasts throughout the NBA playoffs. He also tied the modern record shared by Jean Beliveau (1956) and Mike Bossy (1982) for most goals in the Stanley Cup Final, with seven in five games. "It's the craziest thing you ever going to see".

A few hours earlier, Barkley interrupted Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey talking about the 1984-85 Oilers being voted by NHL fans as the greatest team in league history.

He wasted no time, booming his question: "Wayne, I've just always wondered: Who is your favorite black athlete of all time?"

Gretzky was quick to reply, naming his Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr to laughs from the media and from Barkley.

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"I started following hockey actually in Birmingham, Alabama", Barkley said. Barkley also became friends with Eric Lindros of the Flyers, too. Barkley said he has attended a number of Stanley Cup playoff games over the years in Chicago.

"Hey, with all the nice things you've been saying about hockey, come to a game", Barkley recalls the conversation going.

"I'm really looking forward to tonight", Barkley said. "I'm not breaking earth-shattering news".

And really, the entire spring has been far from a display of parity on the National Basketball Association side, as the two teams meeting in the Finals entered the series having won 24 of their first 25 games in the playoffs. "The best thing about my job is when I'm in work for two straight months like the NHL playoffs, I'm in a room with 20 televisions and I watched pretty much every single hockey game". I think from [Mark] Messier, to [Glenn] Anderson, to [Coffey], to Kevin Lowe, to Kurri, we showed up for practice. "It has not been a lot of fun broadcasting games this year". If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. "We all want to win", he said.

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