It is a hobby for Charles Barkley to nag on his close friends. It does not matter if it is a seven-foot, 300-pound man named Shaquille O’Neal or the GOAT, Michael Jordan. Back in 1992, Barkley bet against Jordan on air, and the Chicago Bulls guard took it personally.
A great friend
Barkley was asked for his thoughts on the 1992 NBA Playoffs. The heavy favorites were Jordan’s Bulls, who had just won the title the previous year. But Barkley picked the Portland Trail Blazers to win it all, going against popular thought and his good friend Michael Jordan.
Word eventually reached Jordan and the GOAT shared his thoughts on Barkley’s forecast. The Bulls guard laughed it off, knowing that Barkley was trying to piss him off.
Barkley made the comments sometime in the first or second round. As we all know, the Bulls took their second straight title over the Trail Blazers in six games. Barkley almost hit the nail on the head. Perhaps he learned early on not to bet against his good friend.
The following year, Barkley and Jordan would meet in the NBA Finals. This time, Barkley was donning the Phoenix Suns jersey after being traded in the summer. Jordan must not have forgotten Chuck’s comments a year ago. The Bulls pounced on the Suns in six games to win their third consecutive NBA title.
Have they patched things up?
Unfortunately, the friendly banter between Jordan and Barkley is over. The two haven’t patched things up since Barkley’s harsh criticism of Jordan as an owner.
In an interview with Bob Costas last year, Barkley admitted that he’s not friends with Jordan anymore. Barkley admitted responsibility for this, but he’s also just being honest.
“We’re not. And I take some responsibility for that. I criticized his – he was one of my best friends, and I definitely love him and miss him, to be honest with you – but I, Bob, I have to do my job. I said, at the time, and we can debate whether I should have said it, but I was asked a question, and I’m told always be honest at my job. I said, ‘I don’t know if Michael’s ever going to be successful [running the Charlotte Hornets] because I don’t know if he got enough strong people around him,’” Barkley said.
The wounds are still fresh. Maybe in the future, they’ll have a sitdown interview in the fashion of Isiah Thomas and Magic Johson. People would pay to see a Jordan and Barkley crying meme.