Daughter tells of dad’s unlikely friendship with Charles Barkley

BOSTON — A chance meeting in a hotel lobby sparked an unlikely friendship between former NBA star Charles Barkley and a cat litter scientist in Iowa.

The story has been shared widely since it was told last week by the scientist’s daughter on “Only A Game,” an NPR sports show produced by Boston-based WBUR.

Shirley Wang says that her father, Lin Wang, approached Barkley at a hotel while on a business trip. The two began talking, got dinner and exchanged numbers.

They would meet up over the years to watch basketball games or hang out on the set of Barkley’s show.

When Lin Wang died this year, Barkley showed up at his funeral in Iowa to the surprise of other attendees.

Barkley tells Shirley Wang that their friendship gave him “great memories and great joy.”

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