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Charles Barkley explains rift with Michael Jordan

Charles-Barkley-Michael-Jordan-BobcatsMichael Jordan and Charles Barkley used to be close buddies but are no longer good friends. Barkley says that is due to MJ getting offended by Chuck’s criticism of the Charlotte Bobcats.

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.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Michael Jordan tried psyching out Ian Poulter at 2012 Ryder Cup but it didn’t work (Video)

Michael Jordan golfMichael Jordan did his best to psych out Ian Poulter at the 2012 Ryder Cup, but his efforts didn’t work and the European team wound up winning thanks to an epic comeback, which has been termed the “Miracle at Medina.”

In preparation for the 2014 Ryder Cup, NBC and Golf Channel are running some “Road to the Ryder Cup” shows featuring some cool interviews about past events. One of the videos contains an interview with His Airness, who happens to be a huge golf fan and Ryder Cup enthusiast.

Jordan shares how he decided to specifically follow Ian Poulter late in the final day of the event and trash talk the European golfer. MJ trash talked Poulter on holes 15, 17 and who knows what else. None of it worked.

“(Jordan) loves his golf, he loves Ryder Cup. He’s always there. He’s always been a helping hand to the Americans,” Poulter recalled on his SiriusXM show this week via the Chicago Tribune. “He was right there. I was there on 13 and I remember walking off the tee box at 13, looking over and he kind of wagged his – I don’t know if you can call it a finger, it looked like an arm – this big finger comes up and he was wagging it at me pulling a face as if to say, ‘We’ve got you.’ So Rory (McIlroy) holed that massive putt on 13 to start the comeback trail. I holed a nice birdie putt on 15 and there he was, Jordan standing there again, and he’s just looking at me, staring at me. And I’m like, this is amazing, this is what I live for, this is what makes sport great. I’m a little golfer, Ian Poulter, playing golf in the Ryder Cup, and there’s legend basketball player Michael Jordan psyching me out in the Ryder Cup! And you know what? I said, ‘Screw you, I’m gonna hole this putt.’ (laughter) But you know what, he’d done that for so many years on a basketball court, he hit the shot time and time again. I said to myself, ‘I’m not allowing him to get in my space.’ ”

Poulter said Jordan was there at 17 waiting to taunt him, too.

“We’re walking off [16] and there he is, 6-foot-8, however tall he is, Jordan standing right in my space. I’m walking to the 17th tee, this claw hammer of a fist of his, he just keeps it out in front of him and he kind of wags his finger and he gives me a little jab in the chest with his fist. It was like a sledgehammer hitting me! … So I’m not going to tell you what I said to him at that point! (laughs) And that’s a sign of respect in a way. I respect Jordan as a basketball player, as the player that owned that game for so long, watching things unfold, respecting the game of golf. I wasn’t intimidated. I felt privileged to be in that situation, to be in the heat of the moment, the power-packed point under the spotlight with everybody watching. And the pressure to hole putts and the pressure to deliver was immense.”

Sounds like MJ was doing more harm then good. Maybe next time our team captain will tell him to keep his nose out of the game!

Michael Jordan loved Roger Federer’s tweener shot at US Open (Video)

Michael Jordan US Open

Michael Jordan was at Flushing on Tuesday to take in Roger Federer’s first-round match at the US Open and build some hype for the tennis player’s new shoe.

It’s safe to say that MJ was enjoying the show.

At one point in the second set, Federer ran down a lob from Marinko Matosevic which landed out. Matosevic turned his back after the ball landed out, but Federer didn’t stop. He hit a tweener return that actually nailed Matosevic in the back, leaving Jordan and many others laughing.

Federer’s new shoe is the Nike Zoom Vapor x Air Jordan 3, which was released on Tuesday. The shoe marks the collaboration of arguably the two greatest players in the history of their respective sports.

“It’s just amazing having Michael here. Michael was my hero of all sports. Having him here is unbelievably special. The collaboration is unique, so I love it,” said Federer in an interview after his match.

Here’s Jordan giving an interview during the match where he talked about working with Federer on the shoe:

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan really do have identical moves (Video)

Kobe Bryant Michael JordanFor those of you who aren’t convinced that Kobe Bryant modeled his game after Michael Jordan, this is Exhibit A. The third edition of the “Identical Plays” videos that were created by Youseff Hannoun was released earlier this week, and the results are just as jaw-dropping.

Granted, a lot of the plays we saw from both Michael and Kobe are typical of swingmen-type players. If you searched hard enough, you could find a clip of Kevin Durant hitting a step-back jumper the same way Jordan did. But the mannerisms — finger wagging, tongue wagging, etc. — from Kobe are what stand out.

Hey, Kobe freely admitted he stole some of his moves from Jordan. That’s the main reason Jordan has joked that he might not be able to take Kobe in a game of one-on-one. Both players are legends in their own right.

Michael Jordan ‘cool with’ LeBron James switching back to No. 23

LeBron James Cavs 23

LeBron James announced on Sunday that he has decided to wear No. 23 again in his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. While it makes sense that LeBron would want to go back to his original number for the homecoming, the reason he cited for switching to No. 6 four years ago has kind of made him look bad for going back.

If you remember, LeBron said in this interview that he was no longer going to wear 23 out of respect for Michael Jordan. James said MJ has done so much for the game of basketball that no one should wear 23 again. Apparently he changed his mind, though Jordan says he is fine with it.

“I’m cool with it,” Jordan told ESPN’s Chris Broussard in a text message Monday. “I don’t own a number.”

Jordan probably didn’t have an issue with LeBron wearing No. 23 to begin with, so his reaction is not a surprise. The real surprise is that LeBron didn’t stick with No. 6 or choose a different number just because of what he said about Jordan. While the fans who didn’t burn their old Cavs jerseys are grateful, it makes what James said four years ago sound really lame now.

Michael Jordan officially a billionaire?

Michael-Jordan-Neighbors-AnnoyedMichael Jordan is finally a billionaire, according to an article that was published in Forbes on Thursday.

Jordan, who earns an estimated $90 million per year through endorsement deals, his clothing and shoe company, the Charlotte Hornets and other avenues, was estimated to have a net worth of around $750 million earlier this year. However, Mike Ozanian reports that a recent increase in his stake in the Hornets has pushed Jordan’s net worth into 10 figures.

In recent months, Jordan has supposedly increased his stake in the Bobcats from 80 percent to almost 90 percent. Sports bankers estimate that the Hornets are worth somewhere between $600 million and $625 million, using the recent $500 million sale of Milwaukee Bucks as a benchmark. Here’s how Ozanian came to his conclusion:

Our net worth figure for Jordan uses the $600 million figure. The Hornets have $135 million of debt, which makes Jordan’s equity in the team worth $416 million. After subtracting all the cash Jordan has invested in the team, we estimate his net worth outside of the Hornets to be $600 million, giving him a net worth of a $1 billion

It was only a matter of time, right? If a report from Golf Digest earlier this year is accurate, Tiger Woods recently became the first billionaire athlete.

Moral of the story? Be the best athlete to ever play your sport and cozy up with Nike.

Isiah Thomas: Michael Jordan couldn’t have played through LeBron’s cramps

LeBron James cramps

Critics who have obviously never dealt with serious cramping will tell you that LeBron James showed a lack of heart on Thursday night when he left Game 1 of the NBA Finals with four minutes remaining. LeBron was suffering from severe cramps as a result of an AT&T Center air conditioning system malfunction, and Isiah Thomas believes there is absolutely nothing he could have done to play through it.

Thomas was in attendance for Game 1, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports noticed that he wasn’t even breaking a sweat in the 90-plus degree heat. Despite that, Thomas understood where LeBron was coming from.

“There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps,” he told Wojnarowski. “Michael Jordan absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. I absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. As an athlete, there’s nothing you could do.”

This is the same Isiah Thomas who, on a bum ankle, scored 25 points in a single quarter during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Detroit Pistons ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, but a severely hobbled Thomas singlehandedly kept his team in championship contention.

That’s why Thomas’ words are more than just meaningless blabber from someone who has never been there.

“There’s no way you could play that way,” he added. “People have to understand that – just no way.”

We have already heard comparisons between LeBron’s cramping and Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game. While those will undoubtedly continue, they aren’t fair to James. Jordan obviously felt awful, but LeBron was physically unable to move. He tried to reenter the game, but Erik Spoelstra told him “don’t even think about it.”

Fortunately for LeBron, his cramping came in Game 1. He has several more games to make people forget it ever happened, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that’s just what he did.