Barkley did an interview with Yahoo!’s Graham Bensinger and was asked about his friendship with Jordan, which dates back to their time together in the NBA, on the Dream Team and in the movie “Space Jam.” Barkley still has a lot of love for Jordan.
“Michael has always been like a brother to me,” Barkley said. “He’s been a great mentor to me in the business world and he’s been a great friend.”
When pressed about where things soured, Barkley said his criticism of MJ’s performance as owner of the Bobcats was upsetting to His Airness.
“I think that Michael was upset by some of the things I said about the Bobcats – which, number one, they were true. I told you earlier, I’m going to be honest, and I’m going to be fair,” said Barkley.
“First of all, he’s doing a much better job. But a couple years ago, I want to say three years ago, when they were vying for the worst record in NBA history, Michael had not done a good job. He took it personally.”
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s because we went through this in 2012. Back in March 2012, Barkley criticized some of Jordan’s draft picks. A few months later, Barkley said MJ was angry with him over that criticism. Apparently not much has changed in their relationship since then.
Barkley also addressed another urban legend concerning the two. The story always was that Jordan used to have meals or play golf with opponents in the playoffs to soften them up. Barkley downplayed that notion.
“That’s one of the biggest misconceptions ever,” Barkley told Bensinger. “I’ve heard that story. Me and Michael never played golf or had dinner during the Finals. We understand it was a competition.
“I’ve heard this before that Michael took me out and buttered me up on the golf course or at dinner. I would just kind of laugh at it. We would just laugh at it. We were friends during and we were friends after.”
But they are no longer close friends.
What’s even more interesting than that is the story of why Barkley and Tiger Woods are no longer friends.