Charles Barkley unapologetically speaks his mind — but the NBA legend’s words may have caused irreversible damage to his relationship with his former best friend Michael Jordan.
During the latest instalment of Tom Brady’s SiriusXM podcast Let’s Go!, Barkley said he and Jordan haven’t spoken in almost 10 years after he had “said something that offended” the Chicago Bulls icon.
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“I think probably, me and Michael (Jordan) were best friends, that’s probably the most prominent thing,” he recalled when Brady asked if there have been ramifications for giving his honest opinion throughout his television career.
“Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most prominent thing that’s happened to me. But I was being honest about what I thought. I said, ‘Listen, the toughest thing about Michael, he’s got to put better people around him.’ Because the toughest thing, when you’re famous, they’re on your private jet, you’re buying all the drinks, you’re buying all the dinners. Very few people are gonna be honest with you.
“I try to surround myself with people like, ‘Hey, if I’m screwing up, please tell me.’ And Michael got offended about something I said about him. And we haven’t spoken in probably almost 10 years. And he was my best friend at the time. And I love the dude like a brother and we’re both stubborn and we haven’t talked.”
Barkley was referring to comments he made in a 2012 radio interview on The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000, when he said Jordan “has not done a good job” as an NBA executive.
At the time, Jordan was two years into his tenure as majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets), and the team had the NBA’s worst record at 4-29.
Prior to purchasing the Bobcats, the Hall of Famer spent six years serving as a minority investor with final say on basketball decisions.
Barkley explained in the 2012 interview that he believed Jordan was surrounded by the wrong people.
“I think the biggest problem has been I don’t know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to,” he said at the time.
“One thing about being famous is the people around you, you pay all their bills so they very rarely disagree with you because they want you to pick up the check. They want to fly around on your private jet so they never disagree with you. I don’t think Michael has hired enough people around him who will disagree.”
The Inside the NBA star agreed to a 10-year deal with TNT last month that is expected to be well into nine figures.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission