Barkley reveals why he hasn’t spoken to MJ in 10 years originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan used to be best friends and fierce NBA rivals.
But now, to hear Barkley tell it in a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, he and the Chicago Bulls legend have not spoken in 10 years after Jordan took exception to a piece of criticism Barkley levied on television.
“It’s a really unfortunate situation for me and him. But I’m going to do my job first and foremost,” Barkley said. “I can’t criticize other coaches and general managers and give him a pass because he’s my best friend. I just can’t do that.”
The root of Barkley’s criticism was Jordan’s governance of the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets), an organization in which Jordan bought a minority stake while taking over basketball operations in 2006, and has principally owned since 2010.
“What I said was, ‘Michael’s got to surround himself with better people,'” Barkley said. “And I said, ‘I worry about him being successful.’ Because when you’re a star — because he’s the biggest star I’ve ever been around — everybody around you is going to tell you what you want to hear. And I didn’t think he had a good enough supporting cast around him in the front office to be successful.
“I said that, and I had no problem saying it, because it was the truth. And he took offense. And he called me, and it wasn’t a pleasant conversation, and we haven’t spoke since then.”
Barkley certainly had a point, and the critique has aged well. The franchise has amassed a 0.423 regular season win percentage since Jordan first bought in, making the playoffs three times and never advancing past the first round.
But as any Jordan observer knows, he is not one to admit defeat in an argument. And Barkley isn’t one to walk back comments.
“He’s stubborn, I’m stubborn, and that’s it,” Barkley said.
So, even though Barkley estimated he and Jordan have been in the same room five times since the spat, the two have not spoken.
Asked what he would say to Jordan if he did have the opportunity to meet with him now, Barkley gave about the response you’d expect.
“I probably would say, ‘What I said, I believed. I’m sorry you took offense to it. And let’s get past this bulls*** and get back to playing golf and having fun,” Barkley said.
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