From friends to rivals. Former NBA player Charles Barley revealed that he has not spoken Michael Jordan in nearly a decade after they feuded.
While talking to Tom Brady of his outspoken character on Monday, November 21 episode of the SiriusXM podcast “Let’s Go! Featuring Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray,” the NBA Hall of Famer, 59, explained that the Space Jam star, 59, was hurt by some of his earlier comments. “Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most important thing that happened to me [because of my bluntness]. But I was honest about what I thought,” Barkley said.
He continued: “I said, ‘Listen, the hardest thing about Michael, he’s got to have better people around him.’ Because the hardest [about] when you are famous [is] they’re in your private jet, you buy all the drinks, you buy all the dinners. Few people will be honest with you. And I try to surround myself with people [and say] like, ‘Hey, if I screw up, please tell me.’”
The sports analyst’s comments “insulted” Jordan – and the pair stopped talking as a result. “We probably haven’t spoken in almost 10 years,” Barkley said. “And he was my best friend at the time. I love the guy like a brother, and we’re both stubborn and we haven’t talked.
Though he regrets losing his friendship with fellow basketball legend, the Within the NBA star has no plans to hold back his feelings any time soon. “[My former teammate Julius “Dr. J” Erving] tried to coach me on how to handle the media,” Barkley recalled. “He said, ‘You have to make a choice. You’re going to be honest or try to get everyone to like you.’ … I realized that no matter what I say, half the people will like it and half the people will hate it.”
The former NBA MVP added: “So from my third year [in the NBA] now I say, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t think I’m always right, but I’m going to give my honest opinion and live with the consequences.’”
Barkley isn’t the only former NBA star to openly speak out about a feud with Jordan in recent years. Scott Piper — who won six championships with Jordan’s CEO in the 1990s — called out his former teammate for diminishing the role he and the other Chicago Bulls athletes played in the team’s success in Netflix’s The last dance.
“They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving me and my proud teammates nearly enough praise,” the 57-year-old Olympic champion wrote in his 2021 memoir: Unattended. “Michael deserved a big chunk of the debt. The producers had granted him editorial control over the final product. The doc could not have been released otherwise. He was the protagonist and the director.”
While Jordan has not addressed Pippen’s comments publicly, he did explain that he had positive memories of his teammates during the height of their success.
“I think it was… [a] real time, even though we were competing and learning about each other and pushing each other, those are still real times,” he told ABC’s Australian today in August 2021, adding that he felt “sad” when it ended. “And you don’t share that with too many people.”