Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were great friends during their playing days and even in retirement. They were thick as thieves, and for a couple of years they were the two best basketball players in the world.
Upon retirement MJ became an NBA owner. In fact, he’s the only Black majority owner in the four North American sports. As for Sir Charles, aka “The Round Mound of Rebound,” he embarked on a legendary career in television as a sports analyst on TNT.
That means Barkley has to call it as he sees it, and that’s exactly what Chuck did when he said, Jordan, his good friend at the time, needed to put better people around him in order to make better personnel decisions for his Charlotte Hornets team.
Why Did Charles Barkley And Michael Jordan Stop Being Friends?
During a recent interview with “All The Smoke” on Showtime, Barkley spoke to co-hosts Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes and reflected on how things went south with MJ.
Barnes asked Barkley could he see the relationship between him and Jordan being mended. The outspoken Barkley was blunt in his response, and, from the sounds of it, don’t expect any reconciliation in the near future.
“That would be on his end,” Barkley said. He was my best friend at the time, and I love the guy and miss the guy, but I gotta do my job.”
Barkley points to those comments in 2012 as the turning point in their relationship, but he maintains that he was speaking the truth about MJ not having anyone around him that wasn’t afraid to tell him the truth. Barkley felt that there were too many “yes men,” and that led to MJ’s struggles as an executive.
Did Barkley Insult Jordan’s Executive Skills
“He was struggling as a manager or running the team, and I said, ‘I don’t know if he’s ever going to be successful ‘cause the people around him are never gonna tell him no,” Barkley said.
Per Barkley, Jordan’s rebuttal was fiery, animated and pretty heavy on swearing.
“He went ballistic,” Barkley said. ‘And he called me and that’s the last thing I heard was m—- f— you? You supposed to be my boy.”
That was ten years ago. And the two haven’t spoken since then.
(Charles Barkley | Ep 168 | ALL THE SMOKE Full Episode | SHOWTIME Basketball) https://t.co/Q8nO1HMyHJ pic.twitter.com/o68v5zOfyi
— HipHop NewsOfTheDay (@HHNewsoftheday) February 6, 2023
Barkley Was Just Doing His Job
Barkley claims he was being an unbiased analyst, opting to say what those around MJ won’t ever say about His Airness’ skills as a team-builder. Only the Knicks, Magic, Pistons, TImberwolves and Kings have worse records during MJ’s reign in Charlotte.
Also, in that time frame, they’ve never won their division, finishing fourth or dead last six times. And he’s had six different head coaches.
What Barkley said has some real truth to it.
Things got so ugly that back in June Fox Sports personality Skip Bayless referred to MJ as the W.O.A.T or “Worst Of All Time.”
Charles Barkley on all the smoke is s must watch https://t.co/JeY2dgavK5
— . (@davidinho_21) February 2, 2023
MJ And Barkley Had Classic 1993 NBA Finals Battle
Back when the two were friends they stole the show at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The “Dream Team” steamrolled all the competition the world had to offer. Jordan and Barkley were the unquestioned two best players at that time, and that’s not really up for debate. The two met in the 1993 NBA Finals, with Jordan and the Chicago Bulls winning the series in six hard-fought games.
That season Barkley was named NBA MVP, with Jordan finished third. Barkley often reminisces about that one opportunity he had to win a title, and he blames himself for not having his league-leading Suns prepared. In fact, they didn’t win a home game the entire series after boasting the best overall record and home record in the league that season.
Michael Jordan in the 1993 NBA Finals…Undisputed GOAT. 🐐
(via @HistoryJumpman) pic.twitter.com/LrRvfkUIwY
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 12, 2021
Barkley and his Suns were one of the six victims en route to MJs unblemished NBA Finals record.