Suffering From a Disease Affecting 2,000,000 People, Charles Barkley’s “Cat Litter Scientist’s” Secret Left Him Furious

Published 07/16/2023, 11:50 AM EDT

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Charles Barkley has had a tumultuous time when it comes to friendships. Whether it’s a rock-solid bond with Shaquille O’Neal or an irreparable relationship with Michael Jordan, Chuck has seen it all. But, one of his more unlikely bonds came during a random charity event in Sacramento. From there, a friendship blossomed between a basketball legend and a cat litter scientist. Two worlds apart, the friends shared a rather interesting dynamic.

While shocking, the bond strengthened with time but also gave Charles a major heartbreak.

Friend’s condition shocks and angers Charles Barkley


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The story came to light, courtesy of our cat litter scientist friend’s son. The young girl, Shirley Wang, wrote a heartfelt article about her father’s untimely passing, and his unexpected bond with Charles Barkley.

While Barkley is a man of the people, the two men met unexpectedly in Sacramento. The scientist, Lin Wang was in the area on a business trip, when he bumped into Charles, who was there for a charity event. Since the two were the only two present in the lobby, they got to talking. The rest, as they say, is history.


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From there on, the two spent the next two days joined at the hip, and a permanent bond came to be.

Over the years, the two would meet up, and Mr. Wang even made the trip to Alabama when he learned of Barkley’s mother passing away. To Charles, the moment was priceless. He told the younger Wang, “For your dad to take the time to come to the funeral meant a great deal to me.”

The following year, Lin received word. He had tumors in his heart – cancer. But, the cat litter scientist never mentioned his condition to Sir Charles, even though it affects 2 million people every year. When the Philadelphia 76ers legend inevitably found out, he was furious. “I called him and got mad at him when I found out…I was, like, ‘Dude, we’re friends.'”

As Shirley recalls, Lin was constantly watching Barkley’s TNT show, a set he even spent time in, throughout his recovery. Unfortunately, Wang passed away the night of the NBA Finals. His favorite team, the Golden State Warriors, went on to win the 2018 NBA Championship.

For Charles Barkley, this wasn’t the first friendship that brought the big man great anguish.

The irreparable bond between Charles and Jordan

While celebrities like Charles Barkley seem like this unattainable, hyperbole of human life, sometimes a simple fact is easy to forget. They are humans too. They feel the flow of life just like you and me. From friendships to relationships, they go through it all.

On a recent podcast, Charles and Shaquille O’Neal‘s co-host, Ernie Johnson, asked Barkley about his bond with Michael. And, whether the two would ever mend fences. However, Barkley remained adamant about the two’s relationship never being fixed.

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I would like to fix it, but Michael’s doing great. I’m doing great… I know we are both too stubborn.

While the group broke into laughter, the confession is a gut-wrenching one for basketball fans the world over. Michael and Charles’ bond gave the basketball world many hilarious moments over the years, including Barkley being berated for his cigarette etiquette.


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However, it seems like that ship has sailed. Maybe, a reminder of Lin Wang can help the Phoenix Suns stalwart remember how important, and rare, true friendships are.

Watch This Story: “All (Charles) Barkley Fault”: Months After Mocking The Looks Of 6’4 Celtics Star, Shaquille O’Neal And His Buddy Receive Heavy Scrutiny From NBA Fans


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Priyanshu Choudhary is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. Basketball has been his favorite sport for over a decade, and he has written close to 300 articles. If asked what he loves about the sport, Priyanshu would cite the technique, the breakdown, the ebb and flow and the theatrics that have endeared him since 2009.
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