BEST OF 2018: Charles Barkley’s Friendship With A Cat Litter Scientist Will Bring You To Tears

Shug McSween Dec 31, 2018

Charles Barkley is a man of the people.

The Rebounding Machine turned TNT NBA Analyst loves to mingle in every city he visits and this story of an unexpected friendship is the perfect display of Barkley’s big heart.

To give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into with this story, check out what any and everyone is saying about it:

SourceWhen Charles Barkley’s mother, Charcey Glenn, passed away in June 2015, Barkley’s hometown of Leeds, Alabama, came to the funeral to pay respects. But there was also an unexpected guest.

Barkley’s friends couldn’t quite place him. He wasn’t a basketball player, he wasn’t a sports figure and he wasn’t from Barkley’s hometown. Here’s what I can tell you about him: he wore striped, red polo shirts tucked into khaki shorts and got really excited about two-for-one deals. He was a commuter. He worked as a cat litter scientist in Muscatine, Iowa. In short, he was everyone’s suburban dad. More specifically, he was my dad.

“You know, it was obviously a very difficult time,” Barkley told me recently. “And the next thing I know, he shows up. Everybody’s, like, ‘Who’s the Asian dude over there?’ I just started laughing. I said, ‘That’s my boy, Lin.’ They’re, like, ‘How do you know him?’ I said, ‘It’s a long story.’ “

My Dad: Lin Wang

The long story started four years ago.

“You know, [Barkley] has a big personality,” my dad, Lin Wang, told me last year, when I recorded him talking about Barkley.

My dad told me that he knew about Charles Barkley long before he met him.

“Well, yeah — he’s a top-50 player in the history of the NBA,” he said. “For many years, he was the No. 2 guy, right after Michael Jordan.”

Whenever we attended dinner parties, my dad would talk about his friend Charles Barkley. The first time my dad told the story, I didn’t pretend to know who this person was. Basketball has never been my thing.

Like a good millennial, I Googled Charles Barkley. He seemed pretty famous — and definitely not like anyone who would be friends with my dad. But again, as a good millennial, I knew that people have very loose definitions of the word “friend.”

About two years ago, I asked my dad if I could see their texts. My dad handed me his phone. Their texts were mostly messages from my dad that ended with an excessive number of exclamation points.

I told my dad the conversation seemed pretty one-sided and handed the phone back.

As I talked about the relationship with more and more people, I began to think that either my dad was one of the luckiest basketball fans ever — or this whole thing was an elaborate joke, a “Dinner-For-Schmucks“-type situation.

Read the rest of this amazing story of friendship —-> Here

Shug McSween

Shug McSween is a veteran here at and has been contributing since day one. A sports nut with a sophisticated opinion, expect McSween to cover any and everything he's passionate about. When he's not busy writing and editing for our crew, McSween likes to get away via fairways and greens. He also contributes to The Hockey Writers, and

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