Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley had a falling out several years ago.
On television, Barkley criticized Jordan ownership skills with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets). Jordan took it personally, according to Barkley.
Barkley, via David Aldridge of The Athletic:
“We were great friends forever,” Barkley said of Jordan. “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 …”
When Wos said he found it hard to believe Barkley couldn’t convince Jordan to bury the hatchet, Barkley responded: “You know, you sound like some of my friends. That can’t happen because I didn’t do anything wrong. 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 …
You can listen to the full podcast with Barkley, Aldridge and Wos Lambre here.
I’m with Lambre and some of Barkley’s friends: I’m surprised this rift hasn’t yet been repaired. It has been so long.
The ball is clearly in Jordan’s court. Barkley clearly isn’t apologizing – nor should he. His job is to analyze the NBA fairly. Maybe not accurately, but at least fairly. Pulling punches against his friends would undermine his image of bluntness.
Jordan should understand putting business before personal relationships. That’s how he justified his cutthroat (“horrible guy”?) approach with teammates.
I believe Jordan will eventually come around. Perhaps, Barkley will stop emphasizing that his criticisms were fair (even though they were). Time heals nearly all wounds.
This one just needs longer.