PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former 76ers great Charles Barkley revealed in a recent interview that he and his one-time good friend Michael Jordan haven’t spoken in years.
Speaking to ESPN’s “The Dan Le Batard Show,” the Hall of Famer and current NBA analyst on TNT said that their friendship ended after he was critical of Jordan as owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
“I think that some people, when you’re their friend, they expect you to have their back no matter what,” Barkley said. “Part of my job sucks sometimes when I have to criticize people I like or friends, and what I said about Michael he had to do a better job at putting people around him because I thought he had too many people around him who just did what he said to do, and he took it personal. He got really angry.”
Despite taking a picture with Jordan at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in September, Barkley explained that was the first time he saw his former friend in years.
“That was actually the first time I’ve seen or spoken to him in years. Like I said, it was a public forum. We just said, ‘Hello.’ We took a picture together,” Barkley said on the radio show.
Barkley said he used to consider the NBA legend a brother at one point.
“I love Michael. I miss Michael’s friendship. He was a great friend to me for a long period of time, and I love him and I miss him like a brother,” Barkley said. “We just happened to be at the same place. I would love to mend that relationship, but we just happened to be at the same place and we took a picture together. It was a public forum. I wish Michael nothing but the best, I love him like a brother, but we are not back to where we used to be.”
Barkley described the situation as “awkward” when they ran into each other.
“It was awkward because I didn’t know what to do, and me and Michael are like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I don’t think he knew what to do,” Barkley said. “We shook hands, took a picture and that was pretty much it. I’ve got nothing but love for the guy, but it was weird.”
Even though he misses Jordan’s friendship, Barkley stated he will not apologize to him because he was doing his job.
“I’m not going to apologize for doing my job. Now if I did something wrong, that would be a totally different animal.”