Charles Barkley is getting real about the end of his friendship with Michael Jordan.
During an appearance on Tom Brady’s Let’s Go podcast on Monday, the 59-year-old basketball legend opened up about if he ever experienced any negative “ramifications” or regrets over being so outspoken over the years. And his answer? The biggest thing to happen to him was losing his longtime friend Michael. Charles said on the episode:
“I think probably, me and Michael [Jordan] were best friends, that’s probably the most prominent thing. Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most prominent thing that’s happened to me.”
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“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. And I try to surround myself with people like, ‘Hey, if I’m screwing up, please tell me.’”
This seems to be referring to an interview with ESPN’s The Waddle & Silvy Show in 2012, where he accused Michael of surrounding himself with a bunch of “yes” people. The Olympic gold medalist said at the time:
“I think the biggest problem has been I don’t know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to. 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.”
As for why they’ve ended their close friendship? Charles explained the former Chicago Bulls player was “offended” by his remarks – and as a result, they haven’t spoken to each other in nearly 10 years! He explained on the podcast:
“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.”
That is rough…
And that wasn’t the only time Charles experienced some troubles in a friendship for speaking his mind. Elsewhere in the podcast, the father of one recalled when Kobe Bryant got extremely angry at him for expressing his disappointment in the Los Angeles Lakers player’s gameplay in a post-game interview:
“One night Kobe Bryant texted me 40 times calling me every name in the book. He starts texting me right after the game. He texted me about 40 times. This is like 5:00 in the morning. I was like dude, pick up the phone and call me.”
However, the two ended up reconciling before Kobe’s death in 2020. Charles added:
“I’ve never taken a cheap shot at a guy because I didn’t like him. If you played bad, I can’t get on the TV and tell people you played good! I wish I could say positive thing about everybody all the time. But they just saw the game, I gotta tell the truth.”
Hopefully, Michael and Charles also will be able to sit down and clear the air one day! Perhaps, the NBA star speaking out about his regret over how things went down will be the first step towards them mending the fences. What do you think about Charles’ confession, Perezcious readers? Do you think he and Michael will ever repair their friendship? Drop your reactions in the comments below.
[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN, ABC News In-depth/YouTube]