LeBron James has evidently had enough of Charles Barkley. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reports, the Cleveland Cavaliers mega-star and former MVP took Barkley to task in a big way Monday night, calling the NBA on TNT commentator a “hater” and asking, “What makes him credible? Because he’s on TV?”
Barkley had been openly critical of James this week after the forward asked for more help at the point guard position to ensure a repeat of Cleveland’s 2016 World Championship. This follows repeated criticisms over the years, to which James responded in strident fashion, questioning Barkley’s own track record:
"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."
Later James doubled-down on the call-out, saying of Barkley:
"I know he wanted to retire a long time ago but he can't," James said. "He's stuck up on that stage every week."
The article also contains quotes about New York Knicks General Manager Phil Jackson and James’ perception of his own role in the league.
It’s rare to see such incendiary comments make print, but you have to hand it to James. As with so many other things, when he goes for it, he makes an impression.
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