Former NBA star and current TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley regrets his falling out with Michael Jordan but won’t be the one who tries to patch things up.
The pair had been great friends for a number of years until MJ took umbrage to certain criticisms Charles levied on television regarding his management of the Charlotte Hornets.
The NBA Hall of Famer was a guest on the Hoops, Adjacent podcast with The Athletic’s David Aldridge and Wos Lambre this week and the conversation spanned several topics, including the coronavirus’ impact on the league, as well as his relationship with Jordan.
“We were great friends forever,” Barkley lamented. “I miss Michael. I love Michael. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s the greatest basketball player ever. But obviously he didn’t take kindly to some things I said about his management skills. And that’s unfortunate. That’s unfortunate. But I’ve got to do my job …”
Wos expressed surprise at Charles’ unwillingness to get Jordan to bury the hatchet, but the analyst insists he did nothing wrong and his critique was fair.
“You know, you sound like some of my friends. That can’t happen because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “I would love to be friends with Michael ’cause, like I say, he was great to me for 20-some years and I love him like a brother. He was like a brother to me. But our last conversation, he was not very happy with some things I was saying about him on television. … My criticisms, No. 1, were fair.
“Don’t you have friends who you’re not sure how they’re gonna react when you’re honest with them? Especially somebody on his level. And like I say, hey, I love the dude. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. It’s unfortunate the way things went down. But I’m going to always try to do my job. And actually, my criticism was about the people around him. … I thought the people he hired around him were too many yes men. That was actually my statement, to be honest. I thought the people around him, they wanted the private jet. They wanted the steak dinner. They were always going to be yes men.”