Sports | December 1, 2022 9:51 am

Charles Barkley Reveals Reason for His 10-Year Beef With Michael Jordan

Speaking with Bleacher Report, Barkley said the pair haven't talked for a decade after an unpleasant conversation

Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley at a Celebrity Golf Invitational. Barkley recently revealed why he's had a 10-year beef with Jordan.
Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley are no longer golfing buddies.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Rivals during their NBA careers who once faced off in the Finals when the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns, but also gold-medal winning teammates on the Dream Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley shared a love of golfing, gambling and having a good time off the floor and were always great friends.

Apparently, that friendship ended 10 years ago when Barkley took a shot at Jordan’s capabilities of being the owner and chief executive of the Charlotte Hornets, who were at one point the Charlotte Bobcats. (He’s not the only one to do so.) In an interview with Bleacher Report, Barkley said a decade-long friendship freezeout between the two began after he was critical of Jordan on his TNT show Inside the NBA.

“It’s a really unfortunate situation for me and him,” Barkley told Bleacher Report. “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.’”

After Barkley made the comments, he got a phone call from his old buddy and “it wasn’t a pleasant conversation.” The pair haven’t spoken since. “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.”

According to Barkley, the cold war has continued when the two have crossed paths in recent years but neither Hall of Famer has been willing to extend an olive branch. For his part, Barkley has at least been thinking about breaking the silence. “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,’” he said.

For what it’s worth, Barkley’s analysis was pretty spot-on as Charlotte has only made the playoffs twice in the past decade and lost in the first round both times. This season isn’t shaping up any better for the Hornets as the club is one of the worst teams in the NBA at 6-15. At this rate, Barkley and Jordan will almost certainly be talking again before the Hornets make it back to the playoffs, let alone win a game.