Charles Barkley is one of the definitive voices in all of basketball, with the Hall of Fame NBA player never holding back on giving his opinion during his playing days, and, currently, being paid to talk hoops as a TNT analyst. Like, it’s actually pretty damn difficult not seeing Sir Charles on the TV, with the guy starring in commercials when he’s not in studio talking about the NBA or March Madness.
But, apparently, there’s one human on earth who had no idea who Charles Barkley even was — his new son-in-law, Ilya Hoffman — who recently married the basketball star’s daughter Christiana.
According to a recently published New York Times article, Hoffman only recognized Barkley from his cameo in the movie Space Jam, rather than from anything he did in the NBA or as an analyst. How? I have no idea, especially when considering the hoops Hall of Famer’s been a recognizable figure for, oh, 30 years or so.
After someone mentioned to him that the woman was Barkley’s daughter, Hoffman’s first thought was of her father’s appearance alongside a cast of other NBA stars in “Space Jam.”
“I said, ‘Oh, you mean the guy from ‘Space Jam’? That’s where I knew him from,” Hoffman admitted. “Some people might have been like, ‘Oh my god, Charles Barkley.’ To me it was like, ‘Look at this amazing girl.’”
Hoffman added that, because he isn’t a big sports fan, he just thought his father-in-law was just a big guy the first time they met. He then described the moment he first met Charles Barkley, and mentioned how weird it is being out in public with a celebrity of his magnitude.
“I’m not a sports fan,” Hoffman said. “I don’t watch sports. I don’t play sports.”
Hoffman’s first time meeting the 58-year-old Barkley came in 2017 at the latter’s Scottsdale, Arizona home.
“I walked into their house and I was like, ‘That is a huge guy,’” Hoffman said.
“When you go out to dinner with Charles, people can be pretty rude like, ‘Hey, Charles, can I take a picture with you?,'” Hoffman recalled. “But every single time he puts a smile on his face. He’s the most generous person. He never gets annoyed.”
In Ilya Hoffman’s defense, the dude was just nine years old when Space Jam was released in 1996 — and Barkley’s NBA career was over following the 1999 season. Still, it’s hard to believe that he didn’t recognize who the NBA and March Madness analyst was even before he met him. But, hey, that’s probably how Charles Barkley’s prefers it, and knows it’s more about his daughter than his own fame.