It started with a boast. It’s the kind that’s made one-time NBA MVP Charles Barkley perhaps even more famous in retirement as the main mouthpiece of TNT’s Inside the NBA than he was during his Hall of Fame career.

But on a random winter night, Barkley was far from TNT’s Atlanta studios, instead working the Kings-Lakers game in Sacramento with Marv Albert. Filling in as the color analyst for Steve Kerr, Barkley made a snide comment about veteran referee Dick Bavetta.

“Hey, I can outrun Dick Bavetta right now,” Sir Charles said.

“I believe Dick would beat you in a footrace,” Albert countered.

“I can outrun Dick Bavetta right now, Marv,” Barkley shot back.

What followed Barkley’s comment could have only happened with the characters involved: a producer particularly attuned to the entertainment opportunities a personality like Barkley presented; a referee who thrived on a good challenge, loved to run, and had developed a close-knit relationship with the former player (Barkley was one of three presenters when Dick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015); and of course Chuck. Because without Chuck, none of this is possible.

So a challenge was issued, a date selected, and the parameters of a footrace between two individuals so far past their athletic prime that it immediately became must-see TV was settled upon. All-Star Saturday arguably had a marquee event that wasn’t the Dunk Contest for the first time in recent memory.

“You see a lot of different things on All-Star weekend,” says Ernie Johnson, host of Inside the NBA, with a nostalgic sigh. “And this was so totally different.”

On February 17, 2007, history—in a sense—was made. Most NBA fans can’t remember who won the All-Star MVP that Sunday, or the Dunk Contest later that night, but in front of 15,694 people at Las Vegas’s Thomas & Mack Center and millions watching at home, they know who won the race between the then-43-year-old Barkley and the then-67-year-old Bavetta.

They also know what happened immediately after it.

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