PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — LeBron James went off on NBA analyst Charles Barkley earlier this week, attacking him personally.
Barkley responded to the comments on ESPN Radio’s “Waddle and Silvy” show on Wednesday, but did not take back his comments nor take the bait to react emotionally.
“I stick by what I said,” Barkley said. “He got personal. But like I said, I’m never going to get personal on an NBA player. All my criticism and critiques are always just about basketball and I’m going to keep doing what I do.
“I think when you don’t like the message, you just kill the messenger. Some of the things he said about me are correct. That still does not make my message incorrect. I thought he was really whiny and complaining the last couple weeks, talking about how he got no help.”
James was upset with Barkley, who called the superstar “inappropriate and whiny” after he publicly requested personnel help from the Cavaliers front-office.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James told ESPN on Tuesday night of the 11-time NBA all-star and former Philadelphia 76er.
“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.”
On Wednesday night, James went off with 27 points (11-14 FG), 12 assists, eight rebounds, two steals, one block, and just two turnovers in a 125-97 blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Barkley will appear on his show NBA On TNT on Thursday night for the first time since James’ comments.