It started when Barkley critiqued James for publicly asking the Cleveland Cavaliers front office for another playmaker on TNT’s Inside The NBA.
Barkley said LeBron’s comments were “inappropriate” and “whiny.” He added, “The Cleveland Cavaliers have given him everything he wanted.”
Barkley also said he’s a “great player and a great guy.”
Well, James let the chopper spray on ESPN.
“He’s a hater,” James told ESPN on Monday night (Jan. 30). “What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?”
That was James heating up.
He added, “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. 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.”
Oh, there’s more.
“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.”
Well damn. Expect a photo op with Barkley sooner than later.
Actually, LeBron wasn’t finished.
“I know he wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can’t,” said James. “He’s stuck up on that stage every week.”
“And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule’s out there,” James said. “He knows every road arena I’ll be in. Don’t just come up to me at All-Star and shake my hand and smile.”
Okay, one last one.
I collect one paycheck from this,” James said of his role with the Cavs. “There’s the owner, Griff’s [David Griffin] the GM, I’m the player. Screw Charles Barkley.”
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Photo: AP Photo/Matt Slocum