The Arizona Coyotes announced Sunday that they had hired Charles Barkley as a special adviser to general manager John Chayka.
“Anything can happen in the NHL, and anything can happen with this team, so I’m excited to help this organization realize its full potential,” Barkley said in a release published on the team’s official website. “At first, I thought this idea was just terrible, but after giving it some more thought, I think this could be something really special.
“I want to teach these kids that you’ve got to believe in yourself,” Barkley added. “I believe I’m the best-looking guy in the world, and I might be right.”
The Coyotes’ release continued with a summary of Barkley’s career accomplishments and a quote from Chayka explaining how the agreement came to pass. If you read it quickly and ignored the repeated jabs at Barkley, it sounds pretty legit. Sure, Barkley isn’t exactly a hockey expert, but he’s not short on enthusiasm for the sport. Plus, he’s not an expert on race theory, and that didn’t stop TNT from giving him a television show on the subject.
In the end, however, Barkley will not be offering wrist-shot tips to young Coyotes players. At the bottom of the release, the team indicated that the whole thing was an April Fool’s gag. We admit we were tricked for a moment (suits us for not reading to the end), but in retrospect, the prank should have been obvious when the Coyotes declared that Barkley would be “assisting with hockey analytics strategy.” Given Chuck’s famous reluctance to accept advanced stats in basketball, it would seem unlikely he’d be on the cutting edge in hockey.
Anyway, it seems Barkley will continue being a grouch on TNT, appearing in loads of commercials and talking about how much he loves hockey. Props to the Coyotes for a pretty convincing April Fool’s prank.