In a recent interview, Charles Barkley describes how answering one question in a way that offended Michael Jordan ended their friendship.
‘The Last Dance‘ documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ last championship run, has probed into a lot of things. One of the most intriguing things it goes into was Jordan’s relationship with other players around the league.
We all know about his well-documented feud with Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas. It’s a grudge that continues to this day. The story that isn’t talked about much is his falling out with Charles Barkley.
Jordan’s Friendships with Isiah Thomas and Charles Barkley
Unlike Thomas, Barkley and Jordan were once good friends. However, after a single incident where Barkley rubbed Jordan the wrong way, their friendship ended.
Barkley and Jordan first became friends when they played together on the Dream Team. “Michael was my best friend for a long time,” Barkley said in Golf’s Subpar interview. Michael would fly his private jet to an airport near Barkley’s house just to pick him up to go play golf.
Barkley Feels That Celebrities Need Honest Associates
“When you’re famous, the number one thing you gotta do is surround yourself with people who hold you accountable, but when you’re Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley or any famous person. Nobody’s ever going to tell you ‘NO.’ Ever! So you have to surround yourself [with people who will be] like ‘Nah man, maybe you shouldn’t do that”– Charles Barkley
Barkley’s Job As A TV Analyst Puts Him In A Bad Position
Being an NBA analyst on TNT, Barkley feels like it’s his duty to give preferential treatment to his friends when speaking about their performance on a broadcast. How could he criticize one player, coach, or a general manager who is not doing a good job, but not criticize another just because he knows them?
Ever since Jordan bought a majority ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets, the team has failed to accomplish any major success. Barkley believes that it was because Michael had too many yes men around him.
On air, Barkley was asked about Jordan’s potential as a general manager and he responded honestly. Barkley said that Jordan would not succeed if he only hired “kiss ass friends” who were afraid to disagree with him.
“I didn’t think Michael would react like that, ” said Barkley.
A Friendship Comes To An End
“Next commercial break, I see his name pop up…and he is MF’ing me up and down. “– Charles Barkley
Barkley said that he never talked to Jordan again after that incident. He understands that people might get offended or might have a family member that will get offended, but he feels that it’s his responsibility to not only talk about the good stuff and to stray away from showing favoritism.
Jordan’s grudges are legendary; he not only doesn’t forgive, but he also doesn’t forget. Just ask Charles Barkley and Isiah Thomas.