Charles Barkley explains what bothers him most about rift with Michael Jordan
The relationship between Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan has been fractured for several years, and Barkley does not see that changing anytime soon.
The latest episodes of ESPN’s documentary series “The Last Dance” served as a reminder that Barkley and Jordan once had a close friendship. Things soured years ago when Barkley criticized Jordan for the way he was running the then-Charlotte Bobcats. Barkley and Jordan have basically been estranged since, and Chuck said on ESPN 100’s “Waddle & Silvy Show” Tuesday that he’s still bothered by his rift with MJ.
“The guy was like a brother to me for, shoot, 20-something years,” Barkley said, as transcribed by ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “At least 20-something years. And I do, I feel sadness. But to me he’s still the greatest basketball player ever. I wish him nothing but the best. But, there’s nothing I can do about it, brother.”
Barkley indicated that he has no plans to reach out to Jordan, though he says MJ has his number and “can call me” anytime. Barkley said what bothers him most about the situation is that he was just trying to be honest with Jordan like he always has.
“The thing that bothered me the most about that whole thing, I don’t think that I said anything that bad,” Barkley said. “I’m pretty sure I said, ‘As much as I love Michael, until he stops hiring them kiss-a–es, and his best friends, he’s never going to be successful as a general manager.’ And I remember pretty much verbatim I said that. And the thing that really pissed me off about it later is Phil Jackson said the exact same thing.”
Barkley has never felt the need to apologize to Jordan, which may be one of the reasons MJ is not interested in smoothing things over. Barkley has enthusiastically sided with Jordan in the LeBron vs. MJ debate, but that apparently is not enough to win back his former friend.
The Hornets (formerly the Bobcats) have reached the postseason just three times and never won a playoff series since Jordan joined their ownership group in 2006. As an analyst, Barkley’s job is to give honest opinions about the NBA. Jordan clearly feels Barkley should have put friendship first, and he has not gotten over the remarks nearly a decade later.