Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan had a famous friendship until they didn’t. The two had a notorious falling out after Barkley made comments about Jordan’s tenure as a general manager with the Washington Wizards.
Barkley talked about that on Tuesday’s episode of The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000. He called their falling out “really unfortunate.”
“The thing that bothered me the most about that whole thing, I don’t think I said anything that bad,” Barkley said on the radio show. “Because I’m pretty sure I said as much as I love Michael, until he stops hiring them kiss-asses and his best friends he’s never going to be successful as a general manager. I remember, I pretty much verbatim said that. The thing that has pissed me off about it later is Phil Jackson said the exact same thing.”
The original comment from Barkley that sparked the falling out between the two came on the same radio show years previously. His point was that Jordan didn’t have enough people being honest with him.
“I thought that was one of the reasons we were great friends,” Barkley said. “‘I can ask Charles anything and I know he’s going to give me a straight answer,’ but… I can’t go on TV and say another general manager sucks and then just because Michael is like a brother to me say he’s doing a fantastic job. That would be disingenuous.”
The two played on the Dream Team together and a clip of the two walking together after a practice was featured on “The Last Dance.” Barkley parodies Jordan’s famous “Be like Mike” Gatorade ads and sings the words but ends with “Be like Chuck” instead. Jordan gives a big laugh at the bit.
Barkley said where things stand between the two of them makes him sad more than anything.
“Really, really sad because the guy was like a brother to me for 20-something years, at least 20-something years,” Barkley said. “I feel sadness, but like I said, to me he’s still the greatest basketball player ever. I wish him nothing but the best, but hey, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
So is there a chance the two would mend their friendship? Barkley sounds willing, but he said it has to be on Jordan’s terms. Barkley joked that Jordan has his number and can call him whenever.
“It’s painful to me,” Barkley said. “People ask me about it all the time and I said this is what happened. I’m not going to say anything bad about this dude. He’s been great to me. He’s given me great business advice. That’s the one thing that sucks about our job.”