“He Took a Personal Shot”: Charles Barkley “Hurt” by LeBron James’ Response to Criticism

Published 02/23/2024, 7:49 PM EST

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You rarely see LeBron James being extremely critical of someone. However, Charles Barkley faced the wrath of the King after some scathing remarks. The 4x MVP did not hold back as he had some harsh words for the Philadelphia 76ers legend. Well, Barkley has not forgotten about it. ‘The Chuckster’ opened up about receiving personal shots in a recent discussion with Stephen. A. Smith.

He revealed, “What I said about you was just about you as a basketball player. It had nothing to do with you as a person and he[James] took some personal shot at me. That’s fine, ’cause I have did stupid s*** in my life. That’s part of your resume. Everything goes on your resume… But I just laughed about it. Yeah, you can take personal shots, I did stupid things in my life. That don’t mean what I said about him wasn’t true.” However, he had some high praise for LeBron as well.

While he reiterated that he considers Michael Jordan as the GOAT, he believes that James has “the greatest story in sports because out of all the guys in high school who came to the NBA, he was the only one who was ready.” He further called him a model citizen and a wonderful person. But this didn’t seem to be the case back in 2017 when Barkley called James “whiny.”


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Right after a historic championship in 2016, things turned bitter for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They struggled to get wins despite giving new contracts to JR Smith, and Richard Jefferson, and adding a few more players through free agency. There were reports stating James was not satisfied with the roster. LeBron James, himself had a hand in many of the decisions the front office was making about the team’s roster. However, Barkley was done with James’s scouting.

He shared, Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above. 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.”

Barkley wasn’t done and added, “He’s the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete?” However, James did not like this criticism from the Sixers legend. Not only he addressed Barkley’s comments but also dug up dirt from his past.

LeBron James ripped into Charles Barkley, calling him a “hater

Barkley’s comments didn’t sit well with James who responded fiercely. The four-time MVP said, “He’s a hater…What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?… I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that.” It did not end here. James also brought up Barkley’s controversial moments from his career.


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“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,” James added.


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His last few words about the controversy were, “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.” After this, the dispute slowly settled down.

James has had a few interactions with the Inside the NBA crew where they were in good spirits. Just last weekend during the All-Star break, LeBron gave Kenny Smith some hair products as gifts due to Barkley’s hilarious bullying. Given Barkley’s praise for James in the recent interview, it seems they both have moved on.


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What are your thoughts on this? Share your take in the comments below.


Written by:

Rohan Dharmalingam


One take at a time

Rohan Dharmalingam is an NBA beat writer at EssentiallySports, who extensively covers the Lakers. Be it a multimillion dollar deal breaking or a classic throwback, Rohan has covered the many themes and formats. Most notably, his coverage received a shoutout from the Purple & Gold icon Shaquille O'Neal and the rap legend 50 Cent, on Instagram.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra