In the latest instance of this Maury-style fight between Charles Barkley and LeBron James, Barkley said on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday that James is “whiny”, and addressed James’ most recent comments.
In case you missed one beat of this exhilarating conversation (You probably did — these two have gotten a Kelly Anne Conway-Esque amount of air time since this feud began), here’s an update via Larry Brown Sports:
To recap this whole feud, last week Barkley said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” that James ripping the Cleveland Cavaliers’ front office for not bringing in more talent was “inappropriate.” On Monday night, James decided to respond with these harsh comments in which he personally attacked Barkley and his questionable background.
The last part needs more explanation. Here’s what James told ESPN about Barkley’s past:
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James told ESPN. “I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.
“All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.”
Barkley saw these comments and got his chance to respond on Chicago sports talk radio:
“Clearly he did some homework on some screwups I’ve had in my life. I appreciate him — clearly he ‘Googled’ me and found out some things. But I’m not going to get upset that somebody said something bad about me. I’m not 12 years old. My initial criticism of him was fair, and I’m good with that.”
Asked why he thinks James responded in that way.
“When I think that you don’t like the message, you kill the messenger. Some of the things he said about me are correct, that still does not make my message incorrect. I thought he was really whiny and complaining the last couple weeks. It’s the middle of the season and he just bashed his teammates — I think that wasn’t right.
“I appreciate Tristan Thompson actually having the stones to say something. But he’s the only one. And anybody in that circle — they’re just so intimidated. But I’m not intimidated at all.”
Then, Barkley decided to justify his on-air behavior:
“My basketball opinion is strictly about basketball. I have really strict rules: I never talk about a guy’s personal life, and I never say a guy should be fired. All my stuff is going to strictly be about basketball.”
“I’ve only met LeBron casually. He’s always been great to me and I’ve been cordial to me. But the notion that we have to be friends … we’re never going to be friends. That’s not a negative thing. I’m not friends with any of these young guys. My job is to do my job. But I understand that this is a different generation where anytime you say something about young guys they take it personally. They don’t worry about whether the criticism is fair at all — they take it personally.”
“I’ve said the guy is one of the ten greatest players ever. I’ve said the guy is the best player in the world. I’ve said he’s a wonderful guy. I’m not sure how that constitutes hating when he’s coming out and bashing his teammates every day. I thought it was inappropriate for him to say everyday how bad his team is, and I think it’s a fair criticism.”
This whole charade was followed up by Barkley joking that the two need to fight this out at the All-Star Game.
We’re at a slow part of the NBA season, but this feud is getting a bit ridiculous, and who knows when it’s going to stop.