The third night of ESPN “The Last Dance” led us to the 1993 NBA final, where Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls competed against the Phoenix Suns.
Charles Barkley’s inclusion in the documentary was a matter of course for this series, but not because of his friendship with Jordan. The ship sailed years ago and Barkley is still sad about it.
During a radio appearance on Tuesday, Barkley discussed his relationship with Jordan or its absence and praised Jordan as the best basketball player of all time.
“The guy was like a brother to me for 20 years,” Barkley said on Tuesday’s Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “At least 20 years. And I’m sad. But for me he is still the greatest basketball player of all time. I only wish him the best. But there is nothing I can do about it, brother.”
As Barkley says, the relationship broke up after Barkley criticized Jordan’s management of what was then Charlotte Bobcats.
In 2012 and on the same radio show as Tuesday, Barkley said Jordan’s biggest problem was that he “hired enough people around him who disagree”. Apparently that was enough for Jordan to cut him off.
“The thing that bothered me most about this whole thing, I don’t think I said anything so bad,” said Barkley. “I’m pretty sure I said, ‘As much as I love Michael, until he stops hiring Kussarsche and his best friends, he will never succeed as a general manager.’ And I remember quite literally that I said that. And what really annoyed me later is that Phil Jackson said exactly the same thing. “
Barkley claimed that it was his job to be critical when the situation justified it, and Jordan’s management of the Charlotte Hornets / Bobcats had definitely justified it.
In the decade and a half since Jordan became head of Charlotte’s basketball department (and later majority owner), the Hornets haven’t won a single playoff series. The team’s best local player, Kemba Walker, left last season for the Boston Celtics after the Hornets knocked him out.
Barkley claims Jordan’s problem is that he doesn’t have enough people to be honest with his team management and to say that something else would affect his integrity as an analyst.
“Listen, if you are famous and at one point Michael was the most famous person in the world, everyone around you is either on the payroll or you can buy drinks and dinner and fly around in your private jet. Very few of you become friends being honest with you, and that’s very difficult for any celebrity, but especially for someone of his stature.
“But I thought that was one of the reasons we were good friends. I can ask Charles anything and I know he will give me a clear answer.” But part of my job [as an analyst] That’s because I can’t go on TV and say that another CEO is shit and that Michael, like a brother, says to me that he’s doing a fantastic job. That would be disingenuous. “
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