Here’s the link to the ESPN story about LeBron and Barkley going back and forth:
In a nutshell, the TNT NBA guys kind of went in on LeBron for making the comments he did last week about how the Cavs needed to start making moves and help him out if they’re planning on winning another title. Charles Barkley was the harshest on LeBron and questioned James’ decision to go public with these comments and even questioned LeBron’s desire to compete. OH SHIT. That’s like the professional athlete equivalent to “you play ball like a girl.”
LeBron however, did not fold over as I think a lot of people would have expected. He reminded Chuck that it was Barkley who was the NBA’s Bad Boy. He took exception to Charles’ comments and said he didn’t appreciate him tainting his legacy with these questions. James could have stopped there, but he didn’t. He went went in even deeper saying that all he’s done is respect the game, unlike Barkley who would show up hungover and late to games and appearances. Who spit on a kid. Who was too busy gambling in Vegas for All Star weekend. Who threw someone through a window. Who told everyone he was not a role model.
As much of a dickhead as LeBron is, one must give credit where credit is due. Who is Barkley to question LeBron’s character? Look, I’ve gone on record (Keeping Score At Home) saying very similar things that Barkley did about LeBron wanting the Cavs to go out and “help (him) out,” but he’s got a point. Sure The Decision was stupid and LeBron’s personality can be insufferable at times, but he has always respected the game. I will give him that. So while I don’t agree with LeBron calling out the Cavs, I also would say that I don’t agree with Barkley calling him out and questioning his competitive nature and respect for the game.
One last thing that I actually give James a lot of credit for: if you watch sports, you know that the “old guys” always talk about how nobody was friends in the NBA back in the good old days. Barkley in particular has kind of been one of the leaders of that narrative. I guess Barkley’s initial comments really pissed James off because instead of stopping at basically calling Chuck a scumbag, he went in for more and said this:
“Go watch the ’93 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot,” James said. “Barkley and Jordan were laughing and joking with each other during one of the games while somebody’s shooting a free throw. In the Finals. But, oh, nobody were friends back then.”
I kind of like this LeBron actually.*
PS – One thing that could definitely solve this problem is if the Knicks send Melo to the Cavs, the Cavs send Love to the Celtics and the Celtics send like 3 first round picks to the Knicks. Who says no to that deal?
*LeBron ended is soliloquy by saying “there’s a new sheriff in town.” Liking LeBron sure was short lived.