Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan's friendship fell apart for the same reason it happened in the first place - Barkley's complete honesty. With Chuck, MJ knew there was no ulterior motive. You know everything Barkley is thinking because he says it to your face. When Chuck called MJ out for being a bad general manager, Jordan cut off all connections.
That honesty gave us one of the best interviews ever. I mean, who else would call out Michael Jordan for being cheap on the biggest stage at the time - The Oprah Show?
The freezeout weekend
One of the most successful athletes of all time, on and off the court, Jordan always had a reputation of being "cheap." But that's compared to other athletes who, let's be honest, often spend too much money on ridiculous things.
Even if you do think the stories like the one Barkley shared make MJ cheap, you can't say the man isn't consistent. A story from his rookie year shows that Jordan is rational with spending, even when it impacts him.
The 1985 All-Star game is known as the freeze-out game. Magic and Isiah matched up against each other and played virtually no defense. The deal was that George Gervin, on the other hand, would guard MJ like its Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Jordan finished with seven points. It was a message to the young star - everyone has to pay their dues.
MJ's agent, David Falk, explains it through jealousy. Jordan was more popular and had a revolutionary deal with Nike that made everyone wonder why they don't have the same treatment. “They froze him out because they were jealous. They said, ”Who is this rookie who hasn't done anything, and has something that we don't have?”
As it turns out, that All-Star Weekend was all about freezing. Going home, MJ was wondering why the leaders of the game treated him the way they did. Once he arrived at his apartment, Jordan found out he also froze himself out - quite literally.
“Falk recalls returning with Jordan to his Chicago apartment, following All-Star Weekend. The rookie knew he'd be away from home for a few days, so he turned the heat off to save money. His pipes froze in his absence.”
Jackie MacMullan, The Icons Club
He wasn't the billionaire we know today, but even as a rookie, Jordan had enough to pay for heating. Still, why pay for something you're not gonna use? No matter if he's a rookie or the GOAT, certain things never change. For Michael Jordan, this is obviously one of them.
Is it cheap or rational, that's for you to decide.