Charles Barkley had many battles during his NBA career with maybe the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan. On Wednesday night, Barkley got a little taste of what life was like for goalies trying to stop arguably the greatest hockey player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky.
The Basketball Hall of Famer helped kick off Turner Sports’ NHL coverage by getting in net and facing five shots from The Great One.
Barkley was given all the goalie equipment he would need, but he struggled to put it on. Gretzky lent Barkley a helping hand by getting his stick, blocker and glove in place, but even the Hockey Hall of Famer couldn’t assist Barkley with putting the goalie pads on.
“I honestly don’t even know how you put those pads on,” Gretzky said.
Barkley didn’t end up using the pads and, honestly, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The NBA analyst only made one save, as Gretzky effortlessly put four pucks past Barkley into the net. While Barkley was proud that he made one save against the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer, he joked that his goaltending coach isn’t any good.
Barkley, however, had his own moment to poke fun at Gretzky. The former Sixer did not hold back in mocking Gretzky for once losing a fight to a player with a perm haircut.
“Wait, you lost to a guy with a perm? Are you serious?,” Barkley said.
Gretzky said a big reason he chose to join Turner Sports’ NHL coverage was because of his friendship with Barkley, who called him every day urging him to join the TNT family.
Barkley’s fandom for hockey is nothing new. He previously has described how much he enjoys watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s even appeared in-person at some Stanley Cup Finals games.
Barkley also has said his favorite hockey player is Ron Hextall, noting he first became a hockey fan by watching Flyers games during his playing days in Philadelphia.
Turner Sports hired Gretzky after the network reached a national TV deal with the NHL this offseason. The network also hired longtime Flyer Rick Tocchet to serve as an analyst with Gretzky.
Starting this season, Turner Sports will air a large number of NHL regular season and playoff games on TNT. The network also has the exclusive rights to the Winter Classic and to the Stanley Cup Finals in odd-numbered years.