Former Philadelphia 76ers megastar Charles Barkley once became such good friends with a fan that the NBA legend even spoke at his eulogy.
Charles Barkley was one of the biggest forwards to ever play in the league. Standing at 6-foot-6, Barkley was a terror on both sides of the court, leading his team offensively as well as defensively. Over the course of 16 seasons, in the 1,073 games Chuck played, he built up a pretty great resume.
Being an 11-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA player, MVP, Olympic Gold medal winner with the USA, and even enshrined in the prestigious Hall-Of-Fame, Sir Charles built a resume good enough to consider him as one of the legends to play the game.
Fans and opponents from back in his era would know him as a fierce competitor, who sometimes let his anger get the better of him. Collecting over 329 technical fouls over his illustrious career, one would naturally assume the former Philly legend to be difficult in nature.
Quite different from what his personality is on the court, Sir Charles was quite loved by his fans.
Back in 2014, when Barkley was in a bar in Sacramento, he made friends with an Asian man, Lin Wang. Little did Charles know that he would end becoming great friends with the random man he spoke to at a bar.
The beautiful and unlikely friendship between Charles Barkley and Lin Wang: https://t.co/EPJeujJcbN
— WBUR (@WBUR) December 15, 2018
“It gives my great memories and joy to know that I was a friend of Lin Wang”: Charles Barkley
Lin Wang’s daughter Shirley, wrote a story narrating the love Charles Barkley shared for his friend Lin.
“I was in Sacramento speaking at a charity event. I was just sitting at the bar,” Barkley told Shirley. “And me and your dad were the only two people in there. And we just sit down and started talking. Before we know it, we looked at each other, like, ‘Yo, man, I’m hungry. Let’s go to dinner.’ It turned into a two-hour dinner. And then we actually went back to the bar and just sit there and talked for another couple of hours. And the rest is history.”
The two became such great friends that Lin even flew down to Alabama to console Charles when Barkley’s mother had passed away.
“You know, it was obviously a very difficult time,” Barkley said. “And the next thing I know, he shows up. Everybody’s like, ‘Who’s the Asian dude over there?’ I just started laughing and I said, ‘That’s my boy, Lin.’ They’re, like, ‘How do you know him?’ I said, ‘It’s a long story.’”
Barkley was appreciative of Wang making the trip. “It ain’t easy to get to those places,” Barkley said. “I’m from a very small town. For your dad to take the time to come to the funeral meant a great deal to me.”
Tragically, Wang developed a tumour around his heart in 2016. And in 2018, passed away succumbing to cancer. Barkley, being the great friend he was, flew to Iowa City to honour his unexpected friend. The NBA icon even spoke a few words about Wang at the eulogy.
Later, Barkley revealed his true feelings for his late friend to Shirley.
It gives me great memories and great joy to know that I was a friend of his,” Barkley said. “Just hearing about him at the funeral — what he had accomplished and what he was trying to help other people accomplish, just made me even — I wished he bragged more about himself.”
“Your dad prepared you to take care of yourself. He prepared you for that. I was blessed to know him — and know you, too,” the global megastar concluded.
Indeed, it is quite wholesome to hear Sir Charles’ unexpected yet great friendship with his fan – Lin Wang.