Charles Barkley has made it no secret in recent years that he is deeply hurt by the way his friendship with Michael Jordan ended.
At one point, the pair was extremely close.
Unfortunately, Barkley’s unfiltered nature as a broadcaster and Jordan’s renowned sensitivity when it comes to criticism culminated in a messy breakup.
Recently Barkley spoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast and revealed the last thing Jordan said to them before their friendship ceased to exist.
— SHOWTIME Basketball (@shobasketball) February 1, 2023
“I love the guy, and I miss the guy,” Barkley admitted.
“But you know, I got to do my job. First of all, I don’t think it’s fair for me to critique other GMs and coaches and have a double standard. That goes back to the Skip Bayless thing. You can tell the guys he likes and guys he dislikes. I think I’m fair to everybody.”
Barkley then revealed what he said that ticked Jordan off and how the consensus NBA GOAT responded.
“What I said about Michael, I said [was] I don’t know if he’s ever going to be successful because of the people around him,” Barkley said.
“I think he hires too many of his friends because your friends don’t ever tell you no. The hardest thing about being famous is because you’re paying all the bills. They on your private jet. They’re not gonna tell you when you’re doing something wrong.
“Because he was struggling as a general manager, at running the time. And I said I don’t know if he’s ever going to be successful because the people around him are never going to tell him no. Yeah, don’t draft that dude. No, we need to trade that dude blah blah blah. And he went ballistic,” Barkley said.
“And he called me, that’s the last thing I heard, ‘M**********r f*** you, you’re supposed to be my boy. And I said man, I gotta do my job and we haven’t spoken since that night. And that was probably close to 10 years ago.”
Barkley has obviously been quite open about the rift between him and Jordan in the past. But this is the first time he has gone into so much detail about what precisely Jordan said to him.
It is worth noting, the story about why Barkley and Jordan are no longer friends sounds remarkably similar to the story about why he and Tiger Woods are no longer friends. Make of that what you will.
As evidenced by his expert-level hand placement in his photos with Mary J. Blige, obviously Jordan can maintain some friendships. It is not like the man is a total loner. So while Barkley’s criticism obviously played a role in their breakup, it’s hard not to wonder if maybe there was something greater at work there.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/S9ci8JdfWZ
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 2, 2023
In any case, Barkley is 59 years old. Jordan is also 59 years old. As both men speed towards their 60s, it would be wonderful to see some sort reconciliation.
Life is too short for these sorts of grudges.
Will Barkley and Jordan ever be able to mend the rift and become friends again? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.