Charles Barkley strode into Edmond Memorial High's indoor batting cages and out of the morning rain.
He eyed longtime friend and former world-class softball pitcher Michele Smith.
"You prayed for rain, didn't you?" he said.
Barely inside the door, the TNT analyst was already talking trash.
It was the first of many chuckles for the pair Wednesday morning. They have known each other since both competed in the 1996 Olympics, and since Barkley is in town for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals and Smith is here as an ESPN analyst for the Women's College World Series, they decided to get together for a little showdown.
Smith would pitch, and Barkley would hit.
Smith is retired from softball, and before Wednesday, she had only thrown a couple times this year. Her athletic endeavors now involve triathlons, not strikeouts.
As for Barkley, he'd never faced any pitcher who throws as hard or with as much movement as Smith.
That didn't stop him from plenty of hyperbole.
When he met Smith's catcher, Karen Johns, he said, "You can take the day off. Won't be much getting by."
And to the ESPN and TNT cameramen standing around, he issued a warning.
"Lemme tell you all something -- you better be careful," he said. "It's going to be rocketing off of here."
Barkley stood near the plate and took a look at a few pitches, then he stepped up to the plate.
Smith rocked and fired. The ball zipped through the air and popped the catcher's mitt.
"That was a little quicker than the warmup," Barkley's analyst sidekick Ernie Johnson said.
That, it was.
But it was also out of the strikezone.
Barkley looked at several pitches that were balls.
Barkley: "Are you nervous?"
Smith: "I thought you might swing at one of those."
Barkley: "I will admit -- it is faster than I thought it was going to be."
When all was said and done, Barkley had fouled off a couple pitches, but the only pitch with which he made solid contact was actually a grapefruit. He smashed it to smithereens.
"It was a lot of fun," Barkley said of facing Smith. "I am sweating a little bit."
"But I'm glad I got a chance to do it."
Barkley added that he has been watching the television coverage of the WCWS.
"And I'm rooting for Oklahoma to beat Alabama," the Auburn alum said. "I can't root for Alabama in any sport."
By the way, the Sooners aren't the only home team that Barkley believes will win Wednesday night.
"I think the Thunder will win," Barkley said of Game 6. "I just think they got too much momentum going.
"The Spurs don't have a bunch of guys playing well. At some point, the game comes down to you've got to play well, and right now, the Thunder has a bunch of players playing well. I think that will be the difference in the game."