What Broke Up the Friendship Between Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Michael Jordan smiling

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan confronted off in opposition to each other for many of their respective careers. The duo, which was drafted in the identical yr simply two picks aside, had been rivals on the courtroom however buddies off of it. For a number of years after their careers, the pair had been seen in public talking glowingly about their lengthy friendship. All of that modified, nevertheless, when Barkley criticized Jordan’s selections as an NBA proprietor. 

Life on the courtroom

Michael Jordan smiling
Michael Jordan | DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP by way of Getty Images

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Barkley and Jordan had been a part of a loaded 1984 Draft class that additionally launched the NBA to legends resembling Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. From their days in school to the evening of the draft, Jordan and Barkley would have crossed one another’s paths earlier than the NBA. Once within the NBA, nevertheless, they every cast a brand new path. 

Jordan was on a workforce that was largely identified for his or her less-than-stellar rosters. There had been some veteran presences, resembling Moses Malone within the earlier years, however the Bulls had been very a lot Jordan’s workforce. Barkley, however, was going to a workforce that had received a hoop within the not-so-distant previous and included Julius Erving, Jordan’s future teammate Malone, Maurice Cheeks, and several other different notable gamers. 

Jordan was the face of the Bulls whereas Barkley was a part of the altering of an outdated guard. Jordan was a famous person instantly, whereas Barkley took a couple of years to enter that realm. The two had been on a path to being the faces of the NBA. While a Sixers and Bulls rivalry by no means turned a significant participant within the NBA, Jordan and Barkley grew shut. 

How Michael Jordan turned buddies with Charles Barkley

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Perhaps, the largest catalyst for the friendship between the 2 was the 1992 Olympics. This was the yr that the NBA determined to ship NBA gamers as a substitute of amateurs to compete abroad. Not solely did this imply that different international locations had been largely overmatched, it meant that Jordan and Barkley received to spend so much of time with one another and develop fond of each other’s presence. 

Their friendship at all times made sense. Jordan and Barkley had been each identified for being overwhelming presences, albeit in several varieties. They each had a love for playing and golf, each of which might be mixed. On high of that, they had been two of the preferred gamers within the NBA, they usually confronted one another a number of instances. 

It was a friendship grown off of mutual respect, and thru the remainder of their years within the NBA, they grew nearer. Sure, they confronted off within the 1993 Finals and talked numerous trash, however they had been nonetheless going to hang around and shoot the breeze off the courtroom. This carried over into life after basketball. 

Why Michael Jordan is now not buddies with Charles Barkley

Jordan and Barkley typically appeared collectively on Barkley’s tv work, interviews, and charity golf occasions. The two had been inseparable after their basketball footwear had been already hung up. They even appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s discuss present to cowl their friendship. Unfortunately, this didn’t final. 

Barkley has at all times been generally known as a participant who shot from the hip. Whether he was speaking about himself or others, he was by no means going to mince phrases. As Jordan took over the Charlotte Bobcats basketball workforce, Barkley criticized him as an proprietor by claiming that he tended to encompass himself with ‘Yes Men’ to really feel higher. 

This put a pressure on the friendship that by no means recovered. Barkley nonetheless talks fondly about Jordan, however Jordan stays silent. In a 2016 interview, Barkley advised ESPN’s Dan Le Batard that he doesn’t see the friendship rekindling anytime quickly. The pair crossed paths, took images collectively, and stayed cordial, however they had been now not buddies.

Speaking to Le Batard, Barkley said {that a} picture op was not a trigger for celebration. 

“I would love to mend that relationship, but we just happened to be at the same place, and we took a picture together,” Barkley stated (per CBS Sports). “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.”

He not too long ago echoed related ideas in latest days whereas selling his expertise on the Jordan-centric documentary, The Last Dance. Jordan and Barkley as soon as had an unbreakable bond that now seems to be shattered. Whether or not this friendship is rekindled, hopefully, the pair can look again and respect the bond they as soon as shared

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