Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan used to be close friends, but their friendship ended abruptly after Barkley criticized Jordan’s tenure and the six-time NBA champion took it personally.
Barkley joined Tom Brady and Jim Gray on the latest episode of SiriusXM’s Let’s Go podcast. During the interview, Brady asked Barkley if there were any repercussions for him being open and honest throughout his career as a basketball analyst. According to Barkley, losing Jordan (the two were seen above in the 1993 NBA Finals) as a friend is one of the biggest fallouts of his media career, which has been so successful for Barkley’s willingness to call people out when necessary.
“I think probably, Michael and I [Jordan] “They were the best of friends, and that’s probably the most remarkable thing,” Barclay said. “Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most notable thing that ever happened to me. But I was honest about what I thought. I said, ‘Listen, the hardest thing about Michael is he has to put better people around him.’ Because the hardest thing, when you’re famous, is that they’re You get on your private plane, you buy all the drinks, you buy all the dinners. Very few people are going to be honest with you.”
The comments Barkley was referring to occurred in 2012 during a radio interview with Chicago wobble and selfie on ESPN 1000. At the time, Jordan was nearly six years into his tenure with the Charlotte Hornets organization, and just two years after becoming the majority owner of the franchise. Barkley told ESPN 1000 that his friend “didn’t do a good job” with the franchise and blamed Jordan for not hiring enough people willing to challenge him.
“I try to surround myself with people like, if I’m failing, please tell me,” Barkley explained to Brady this week, more than 10 years after the feud with Jordan. “And Michael was offended by something I said about him. And we hadn’t spoken in almost 10 years. He was my best friend at the time. And I love the guy like a brother, and they’re both stubborn and we haven’t spoken.”
Barkley never mentioned anything unfair when he criticized Jordan. It is widely understood that Jordan’s tenure of ownership has not been as successful as his football career from a performance standpoint. Since Jordan became the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte franchise in 2010, the team has only made two playoff appearances and has not been considered a championship contender.
[SiriusXM’s Let’s Go Podcast; photo from Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic, via USA Today Sports]