In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James waits during a timeout in the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Cleveland. After James was criticized by Charles Barkley for questioning Cleveland’s front office, James tore into the former NBA star and opinionated TV commentator on Monday, Jan. 30, following a loss in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
LeBron James has finally lost his patience with TNT’s Charles Barkley and sounded off in an interview after yet another puzzling loss, this time to the struggling Dallas Mavericks.
“He’s a hater,” James told ESPN of Barkley following the loss Monday. “What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?”
Much has been made of the money the Cleveland Cavaliers have spent the last three years on players to keep James happy. That hasn’t stopped him from being upset with the team’s inability to trade for a playmaker off the bench to alleviate some of the pressure on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as well as himself.
Barkley made his opinion of the matter known last week on the popular studio show “Inside the NBA.”
“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above. The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”
That was the last poke that LeBron would take as he unleashed on Barkley for questioning his competitive spirit.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.”
He then called Barkley a hypocrite for his comments on being friends with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and how today’s NBA is too friendly.
“Go watch the ’93 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot. 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.”