LeBron James did not take kindly to recent criticism from Charles Barkley about the way he’s handled his frustrations with the Cavs roster. Barkley said he needed to stop whining about the Cavs roster, and LeBron had finally had enough of Chuck’s critiques of him over the years and absolutely went off on the Hall of Famer.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James told ESPN. “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.
“All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.”
James’ frustrations with the way he’s been criticized by Barkley and other former players came through in that outburst, and his friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade is thrilled that James is finally speaking up for himself.
“It’s about time he said something, man,” told reporters, as transcribed by the Chicago Tribune’s KC Johnson. “Guys ride him, especially ex-players. When you have a history, when you can go and Google your history, you better be a little careful with what you say…I like the fact that LeBron called him out and told him about himself a little bit. Humble yourself. LeBron is who he is. We all have flaws, but when your flaws are a little bit more, you should shut up. I’m glad LJ finally said something and stood up for himself from that standpoint. He said there’s a new sheriff in town. So I’m excited to see what’s next.”
It’s an interesting point made by Wade, and one I don’t think most think about when it comes to the relationship between former players and current players. We often hear former players lament the good old days, but rarely do we hear the current players fire back. Maybe James’ new approach will lead to more current players telling the old timers to pipe down when it comes to critiquing the current state of the NBA.