The biggest story in the NBA over the last week or so has been the feud between Charles Barkley and LeBron James. After Barkley chastised James for telling the media that he wanted the Cavaliers to go out and acquire talent to bolster the team’s roster for a championship run, the reigning Finals MVP absolutely unloaded on television’s most visible hoops analyst.
This led to a flurry of responses, with people like Isiah Thomas and Chuck D weighing in on the beef between the two. Barkley defended himself several times – he said he’s not there to become friends with LeBron and called his criticism of the Cavs’ star “fair.”
On Thursday’s edition of NBA Tip-Off, Barkley was given a platform and a live microphone to discuss the feud. Barkley clarified that while he’s done some “stupid things” in his life, it does not make his argument any less relevant, because he was discussing basketball.
“I have no problem with what LeBron said,” Barkley said. “Everything’s not true. Most of that is true, I did some stupid things in my life. That being said, I’ve been doing this job for 15, 16 years. I have never said anything personal about a guy and I’m never going to, ever.
“All my criticism of any player or comments on any team are strictly about basketball,” Barkley continued. Barkley also explained that if he was the best player in the world (like LeBron is) and was surrounded by players the caliber of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, “I’d take my chances against anybody.”
Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal also commented on the situation. O’Neal was especially fiery while discussing everything, calling out Barkley for saying that James asking for talent implied that he didn’t want to compete for a championship. At one point, O’Neal even said that he would have came right back at Barkley and punched him in the face for saying he didn’t want to compete for a ring.
It’s no surprise that Barkley stuck to his guns, as he’s grown in prominence for his brutal honesty during his broadcasting career. Additionally, watching Shaq get so fired up over this made for really great television. It doesn’t seem like this will end any time soon, so I suppose we all have to sit around and wait for James to respond now.