Charles Barkley reveals Michael Jordan ended their close friendship after he said Hornets owner ‘has not done a good job’ with them

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Rob Schumacher-The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

NBA legend Michael Jordan is known for being a hypercompetitive individual, and he is also known to hold onto grudges if he feels he’s been wronged. According to fellow NBA great Charles Barkley, the friendship between the two ended after Barkley was critical of Jordan’s ownership of the Charlotte Hornets.

“I think probably, me and Michael were best friends, that’s probably the most prominent thing,” Barkley said during a recent conversation with Tom Brady and Jim Gray. “Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most prominent thing that’s happened to me. But I was being honest about what I thought. I said, ‘Listen, the toughest thing about Michael, he’s got to put better people around him.’ Because the toughest thing, when you’re famous, they’re on your private jet, you’re buying all the drinks, you’re buying all the dinners. Very few people are gonna be honest with you.”

Barkley was referring back to a 2012 interview in which he said that Jordan “has not done a good job” with the Hornets franchise. He also blamed Jordan for not hiring people who were willing to disagree with him.

“I try to surround myself with people like, hey, if I’m screwing up, please tell me,” Barkley explained. “And Michael got offended about something I said about him. And we haven’t spoken in probably almost 10 years. And he was my best friend at the time. And I love the dude like a brother and we’re both stubborn and we haven’t talked.”

What is interesting is that if there is one athlete in recent memory who has a similar level of competitiveness to Jordan, it’s Brady.

Brady is considered by many to be the greatest NFL player of all time and has seven titles to his name.

As for Jordan, longtime rivalries are nothing new for him. He had famous rivalries with other NBA stars during his playing career, including Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and more.

Though Barkley may lament the loss of the friendship, he certainly does not seem to regret what he said. After all, he surely believes that he was just being honest with his one-time buddy.

As for the Hornets, they have remained near the bottom of the NBA standings throughout much of Jordan’s tenure with the team. Though they finished last season as the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the play-in tournament, they failed to end their playoff drought.

This season, things have gotten off to a horrible start for them. They’re 4-14 on the season and currently sitting at the No. 14 seed in the East.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.