Charles Barkley claims Michael Jordan’s greatness ‘doesn’t give him the right to be a jerk’ as he lifts the lid on fractured friendship 10 years after they last spoke in furious, expletive-laden phone call
NBA legend-turned-star analyst Charles Barkley has opened up on his fractured relationship with Michael Jordan, 10 years after the former best friends last spoke.
Barkley and Jordan are both 60 now, and came through the ranks together, facing each other on the court and spending plenty of time together off it during their illustrious careers.
Their relationship – which Barkley describes as them being ‘best friends’ – came to an abrupt end a decade ago, when the analyst criticized Jordan on TV and ‘His Airness’ didn’t take kindly to it.
Speaking to CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Barkley explained: ‘Michael disagreed with something I said, and he broke off the friendship. And what I said, I think that he don’t have enough people around him that are gonna tell him, “No.”
‘And he got really offended, and we haven’t spoken.’ In a previous interview, Barkley had explained about the call in further detail, noting: ‘He went ballistic.
Charles Barkley has opened up on his fractured relationship with NBA legend Michael Jordan
Jordan and Barkley are the same age and used to be best friends before a fiery argument
The pair used to regularly play golf together, but now they haven’t spoken for the last 10 years
‘He called me, and that’s the last thing I heard was, “motherf***er, f**k you! You supposed to be my boy.”‘
In the CBS interview, Barkley added: ‘I’m gonna do my job, because I have zero credibility if I criticize other people in the same boat and not criticize my best friend.’
Barkley, who retired in 2000 after a 16-year career, was then asked whether he would consider picking up the phone and speaking to Jordan to repair their friendship, despite the 10 years that have passed since they last spoke.
‘I got an ego too, John,’ he said. ‘You can’t be great at something… that doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk. He got my number.’
It therefore appears that any resurrection of the friendship will have to come from Jordan’s side, but that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.
Not much has changed in the last decade, with Jordan still owning the Charlotte Hornets, and Barkley still appearing on TV every week to give his strong opinions on the current crop of NBA players.
Jordan still owns the Charlotte Hornets, but there are reports he could be willing to sell up
Barkley (left) does not hold back in his criticism of players, be it friends or otherwise
Barkley (left) says Jordan has his number if he wishes to repair their relationship in the future
In recent weeks, the former 76ers, Suns and Rockets star has given his thoughts on LeBron James, the Milwaukee Bucks and Ja Morant to name just three, with the latter an excuse to delve into the topic of gun violence.
Kevin Durant has also been a hot topic for Barkley and his fellow analysts, with the player himself even swiping back by noting: ‘I don’t know why they still ask for this idiot’s opinion.’
When asked for his current thoughts on the now-Phoenix Suns star, Barkley told CBS: ‘He’s very sensitive. Great player. He’s part of that generation who thinks he can’t be criticized.
‘He’s never looked in the mirror and said, “man, is that a fair criticism?”‘