"Sir Charles" didn't take the same tone when he met with Cubs manager Joe Maddon in his office before batting practice.
"He was very complimentary of us," Maddon said. "He's in Philly, he's gotta say that."
What did come up in Barkley's talk with Maddon was, inevitably, his golf game.
"I think I've seen some video of that," Maddon said, laughing. "He was a good basketball player. Very good basketball player."
Maddon said the Cubs tried to coax Barkley into the cage during batting practice. Originally, they faced some safety concerns, but those gave way to the power of curiosity: How does his infamous golf swing compare to his hacks in the cage? The answer: similarly.
It was the first time Maddon had met Barkley, as it was for many Cubs players. Kris Bryant, used to being the biggest guy in the clubhouse, had to see how he matched up.
"I was eye to eye with him," the 6-foot-5 Bryant said. "He's a big guy. His hands are [huge]."
Barkley spent the first eight seasons of his Hall of Fame NBA career in Philadelphia. He lives in Arizona now, though, which is where Maddon's admiration for him grew, having lived in Phoenix while Barkley played for the Suns.
"I watched him all the time. Very entertaining," Maddon said. "Obviously as a big fan of his game … it was really nice to get to meet him."
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.