Rolling Out

Charles Barkley hasn’t spoken to Michael Jordan in a decade

Barkley had been harsh in his critique of Jordan’s performance as an NBA executive
Charles Barkley hasn't spoken to Michael Jordan in a decade
Charles Barkley speaks at Morehouse College (Photo by Mo Barnes for rolling out)

NBA legend Charles Barkley, known for his candor, has earned Emmy Awards, newfound fame outside of basketball and a $100 million contract on “NBA on TNT.” But it has also cost him a close relationship with fellow legend Michael Jordan.

During his visit to the “Let’s Go!” podcast with hosts Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray, Barkley revealed that he has not spoken to Jordan – considered the greatest player of all time – in almost a decade.

“I think probably, me and Michael [Jordan] were best friends, that’s probably the most prominent thing … Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most prominent thing that’s happened to me,” he said on the podcast. “But I was being honest about what I thought. I said, ‘Listen, the toughest thing about Michael, he’s got to put better people around him.’ Because the toughest thing, when you’re famous, they’re on your private jet, you’re buying all the drinks, you’re buying all the dinners. Very few people are gonna’ be honest with you. And I try to surround myself with people like, hey, if I’m screwing up, please tell me.”

Barkley did not divulge what specifically severed his friendship with Jordan, but he delivered pointed criticism of Jordan’s skill as a talent evaluator and executive several years ago. 

“And Michael got offended about something I said about him. And we haven’t spoken in probably almost 10 years. And he was my best friend at the time. And I love the dude like a brother and we’re both stubborn and we haven’t talked.”

Barkley, who was once a teammate of fellow icon Julius “Dr. J” Erving on the Philadelphia 76ers, said the Dr. J tried to advise him early in his career with the Philadelphia 76ers on how to deal with the media. The Hall of Famer opted to speak his mind anyway.

“So, the first six months, I wanted everybody to like me. And then I realized it doesn’t matter what I say. Half the people are going to like it and half the people are going to hate it. And it was a shock to my system,” Barkley said.

“Well, you got to make the uncomfortable decision to always tell the truth. You’re gonna’ piss a lot of people off, but at least you’ll be authentic. So, from my third year on to now I say, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t think I’m right all the time, but I’m gonna’ give my honest opinion and just live with the ramifications.’”

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