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Charles Barkley, Lightning coach Jon Cooper have an unlikely bromance

TAMPA – Former NBA star Charles Barkley was passionately rooting for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to reach the NHL conference final “because he’s on that list that I’m on.”

Ovechkin is one of the greatest NHL players to never win a championship. Barkley has a similar status in the NBA. Barkley at least made it to the NBA Finals. Ovechkin never reached the conference final before this season. The Capitals are up 1-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the best-of-seven series, which resumes Sunday night in Tampa.

“I wanted Ovechkin in the conference finals so I could quit hearing that stat every year,” Barkley told USA TODAY Sports

But Sir Charles has traveled as far as he’s going on the Ovi bandwagon because “I root for the Tampa Bay Lightning because (coach) Jon Cooper is a good friend of mine.”

The two men met by chance at the Marina Del Ray Ritz-Carlton bar a few years ago and hit it off before Barkley even knew who Cooper was.

“He was there with his dad, and we talked about hockey and…

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