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Charles Barkley: Bobcats criticism undermined friendship with Michael Jordan

Sep 4, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

1992 Basketball Tournament of Americas 1992 Basketball Tournament of Americas

Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were once the closest of friends.

They travelled to Japan together. They played poker together. They filmed Space Jam together.

But that friendship fell apart

Barkley believed it happened because he publicly criticized Jordan’s ownership of the Bobcats (now Hornets), and he recently expanded on that.

Barkley, in an interview with Graham Bensinger:

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.

The Bobcats – 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.

I’m taking Barkley’s side here, and I fully agree with the key points he made in the interview:

1. Barkley, to do his job well, must be honest about his opinion on Jordan as owner. He can’t treat his friends differently than others and maintain his credibility.

2. Jordan was a bad owner.

3. Jordan is a much-improved owner.

4. There’s no good reason Barkley and Jordan can’t patch things up.

  1. peddealer - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    They can mend things as long as Michael Sam stays away from sniffing their underwear.

    • explosionsauce - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      Quality stuff. I’m surprised your 3rd grade teacher lets you post on PBT during computer lab time.

      • fm31970 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        To be fair, this is his second time repeating third grade, so cut him a little slack.

  2. djlexluger - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    I can’t say he was a bad owner because the team wasn’t good. He hired didn’t make the best hires for GM and threw away a pick on Adam Morrison.

    • soopreme - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Don’t forget about Kwame Brown.

    • soopreme - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Don’t forget about Kwame Brown.

      • scrp2 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        Don’t forget about Kwame Brown.

  3. granadosm - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    He must be honest about his opinions to be a good host? Tell that to John Gruden

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      To be a good host? No. To be a credible host? Yes.

    • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Jon Gruden, like most of the ESPN/Fox/CBS robots, has no opinions other than the ones written for him to recite.

  4. ndrick731 - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Who the hell cares?

    • k3nn3k - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Wait I know what is supposed to happen now, my turn to do it. ndrick731, pick any of the following responses:

      1. You cared enough to comment!
      2. You cared enough to click on the story and read it!
      3. A story about the greatest basketball player in the world?… All basketball fans would care!

  5. avb300 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    You’ll never find a guy who holds grudges longer. Good luck patching this up.

  6. lenbias34pt - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Barkley is a smart man who is willing to state unpopular opinions.
    Simple, but that is why he is the best at his job in sports.

    • fm31970 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      And why he is respected.

      • 2drunk2dunk - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        lol “Punk move, Bron”
        Barkley is by far the most entertaining. Blunt w/ a splash of sarcasm

  7. rehabguy - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    And compromising frienships for ratings. And teams aren’t built overnight. So to say heis doing a good job now is to say he was doing a good job 2-3years ago.

    • urodaddy07 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:55 PM


  8. ProBasketballPundit - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM


    • fm31970 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Try turning off your CAPS LOCK for starters…

      • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        All i was trying to do was complain that our old coach SamVincent killed WalterHerrmann’s career. I didn’t start shouting in caps until five of my comments disappeared. Then, ironically, that’s the only one that shows up.

    • bkbell3 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM


    • rrhoe - Sep 4, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Check ur internet connection,pay the bill– lmao…..

  9. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    I disagree. Sometimes you need support from your friends especially when everyone else is kicking you down.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      Knicks fan.

    • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      Sometimes the best support you can give your friends is to tell them honestly, “You’re messing up really badly.” You can get any number of people to tell you that you’re great, especially if you pay them well. A friend will tell you you’re dead-on wrong–and still be on your side.

  10. ravenswhat - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    This just in…MJ holds grudges.

  11. lenbias34pt - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    and with friends like that you’ll go to weddings dressed in pleated pants

  12. adoombray - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Barkley is not the most articulate (although he improves every year), intelligent, marketable or even social media friendly (too long winded at times) anouncer, but he’s far and away the best Sports Guy on TV because he is HONEST. that man always calls it like he feels and couldn’t care less what you, the random viewer, or MJ, one of his closest friends, thinks about it. He’s like the anti politician. He makes me proud to have become an NBA fan watching him play and he’s so funny that I can put on the NBA stuff and my wife laughs right along with me. He appeals to both the hardcore and the casual.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Yep, I’ll never forget during Dwightmare when Dwight had an 8 & 8 game on TNT and everybody was afraid to call it what it was. But Barkley said it, Dwight was making a fool of himself and his team by giving up.

  13. lenbias34pt - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    I’d argue Sir Charles is as smart as they come.
    Anyone who gives that many opinions in the media and so often is called out as being inaccurate or dim is on the ball.

    Love to see Charles in politics

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