LeBron James is fed up with Charles Barkley’s years of criticism.and finally decided to speak out.
“He’s a hater,” James told ESPN following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 104-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. “What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?”
James’ rant came after Barkley took an issue with James publically saying that the Cavs need another playmaker in order to be a top contender in the NBA.
“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above,” Barkley said of James last week. “The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”
When James was initially asked about Barkley’s comments he said, “good for the ratings,” while defending his competitive spirit. But once ESPN followed up with Tristan Thompson’s thoughts, James decided to speak his mind:
“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.”
A day after LeBron James called out Barkley, the TNT analyst says he stand in his word.
“I stick by what I said, I’m not going to make this personal. … He was all whiny last week,” Barkley said on the Waddle & Silvy show on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. “… I’m good and I’m straightforward, I’m never going to get personal on an NBA player.”
A case of misunderstanding? Only time can tell.