Charles Barkley Says LeBron James Was Upset at Him for Criticizing His Game: “These Dudes Never Call Me When I Talked About How Great They Are”

Published 12/17/2021, 12:30 PM EST
Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Being the senior player of an NBA franchise is never easy. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Shouldering the responsibility of the franchise, the experienced campaigners are the guiding force for their teams. Over the years, LeBron James has been the vital cog of all his setups. Thus, the 36-year-old is always under the scanner. Recently, NBA analyst Charles Barkley revealed how James never liked it when he dissed his game.

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A certified league veteran, LeBron James is now part-taking in his 19th NBA season. However, age is just a number of him. Showing no signs of slowing down, he is still as fierce and graceful as ever. While the highs are high, the lows can be extremely low. When you’re down and out, all the criticism and hatred can take a toll on you. Naturally, there are times when even the best of the best explode. In the past, as Barkley admitted himself, even the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have lashed out at him when he has been critical of their game.

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Charles Barkley recalls how LeBron James hit back when he criticized him

A 11-time All-star, Barkley knows what it takes to maintain longevity in the league. For many years now, he has been a top analyst for the NBA. ‘Sir Charles’ as they call him, the 58-year-old wears his heart on his sleeve, and calls a spade a spade. Thus, it comes as no surprise that he has critiqued some of the NBA’s greatest athletes. In an interview on the Pat McAfee Show, Chuck admitted that the stars are quite salty when it comes to criticism.

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First stating the example of Kobe, Barkley laid out that the former legend was one of the best he’d ever seen. However, he also revealed that when he criticized Bryant once, he didn’t hear the end of it. Moving on to LeBron James, he claimed that the 17-time All-star also hit back at him. “Even LeBron has come at me a couple of times. And I always said what a great person he is, I admire him as a person. He’s one of the 5-6 best basketball players I’ve even seen. I’ve said some things about him and he went off on me. But I always laugh, these dudes never call me when I talked about how great they are. But when I criticize them…”

Dec 15, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) during the first half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Do you think basketball players need to be more open to criticism? Also, how do you differentiate between constructive and forced criticism? These are just some questions to ponder about.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

548 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is an NBA and Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, soccer and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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