Charles Barkley says his 10-year rift with fellow Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan began when Barkley publicly critiqued Jordan’s abilities as the team owner and executive of the Charlotte Hornets.
“It’s a really unfortunate situation for me and him,” Barkley said during an interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks. “But I’m going to do my job, first and foremost, because I can’t criticize other coaches and general managers and give him a pass because he’s my best friend. I just can’t do that. What I said was, ‘Michael’s got to surround himself with better people. And I worry about him being successful.’”
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Barkley, who’s an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” said that after he made those comments, Jordan called him and “it wasn’t a pleasant conversation.” The two haven’t spoken in 10 years.
“I thought it would blow over, to be honest with you,” Barkley said. “And he’s stubborn —and I’m stubborn — and that’s it.”
The two have crossed paths in recent years but haven’t spoken to each other. Barkley says if given the chance, he would like to end the quarrel and move forward.
“I probably would say, ‘Hey, you know, what I said, I believed. I’m sorry you took offense to it, and let’s get past this (expletive) and go back to playing golf and having fun.’”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Charles Barkley reveals origin of rift with Michael Jordan