It appears that the back-and-forth between NBA analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James isn’t going to end anytime soon, and neither is backig off of their comments.
Last week, Barkley called James “whiny” for his public calling for the Cavaliers to add more players to the roster.
“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above,” Barkley said of James then. “The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s [LeBron] the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”
James wasn’t too thrilled with Barkley’s comments and told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Monday night that he won’t let Barkley “disrespect my legacy like that.”
But James didn’t stop there:
“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,” James told ESPN. “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.”
Barkley was asked about James’ comments and didn’t seem too concerned:
“I have no problem with what LeBron said,” Barkley said on ESPN Chicago’s Waddle & Silvy radio show on Tuesday.
“Some of it was true. I did pay my debt, that’s not true. I was never late to the All-Star Game, so that’s not true. But I don’t overreact, I’m not gonna say anything bad about him or get personal, I stick by what I said. He was all whiny and everything last week. If I’m going to be straightforward, like I always try to be, I know guys are going to come back at me sometimes. I’m good.
He got personal but I’m never going to get personal on an NBA player. All of my criticisms or critiques are always just about basketball and I’m going to keep doing what I do.”
“Clearly, [James] Googled me and found out some things,” Barkley said. “I’m not going to get upset because somebody said something bad about me. I’m not like 12 years. My initial criticism was fair and I’m good with that.”
“Some of those things he said about [me] were correct, but that doesn’t make my message incorrect,” Barkley said. “I thought he was really whiny and complaining the last couple of weeks, talking about you got no help. And I’m just like, ‘Dude you just won the championship, and it’s the middle of the season and you’re just bashing your teammates.’ I think that that wasn’t right.”
“Any time you criticize these young guys, they call you a hater,” Barkley said. “They never ask you if the criticism is fair or not. I’ve said the guy is one of the 10 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 just because he’s bashing his teammates everyday.”
“I’ve only met LeBron casually,” Barkley said. “He’s always been great to me. I think I’ve been great and cordial to him, but this notion that we have to be friends — we’re never gonna be friends. And that’s not a negative thing. I’m not friends with none of these young guys. My job is to do my job.”