Despite coming into the NBA together in the 1984 Draft, playing together for the Dream Team and having a close friendship during their playing days, NBA legends Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan have not spoken in a while. In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Barkley said the reason is that he was honest with Jordan about the way he ran the Charlotte Hornets.
"Michael disagreed with something I said, and he broke off the friendship," he told 60 Minutes' Jon Wertheim.
"And what I said, I think that he don't have enough people around him that are gonna tell him, 'No.' And he got really offended, and we haven't spoken," Barkley said. "But, Jon, I really, I'm gonna do my job. Because, I have zero credibility if I criticize other people in the same boat and not criticize my best friend."
Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were best friends until Barkley criticized Jordan’s management of his NBA team. The friendship ended, and they haven’t spoken in years.— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) July 30, 2023
“He’s got my number,” said Barkley, who refuses to be the first to apologize. https://t.co/P0c8FDM0qh pic.twitter.com/PEiijrVATm
Jordan became a minority owner for the Hornets in 2006, when the team was still referred to as the Bobcats. He became a majority owner in 2010 after a $275 million purchase.
The franchise didn't see much success under Jordan. The Hornets have only made the playoffs twice since 2010 and Barkley didn't want to sugarcoat anything for his friend.
Earlier this year,to a group led by Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin -- who has been a minority stakeholder for the Hornets since 2019. The franchise was valued at $3 billion, which means Jordan had a pretty nice payday. The six-time NBA champion didn't go away completely as he kept a minority stake.
Barkley has long been retired from playing basketball, but he is still a fan favorite as an analyst on TNT's Inside the NBA and CBS Sports' March Madness. Although he and Jordan were best friends, it's hard to tell when they will resolve things because of their personalities. They have a lot of history together but Barkley said he "has an ego too."
"You can't be great at something, like... that doesn't give you the right to be a jerk," he said.
One of them will eventually have to pick up the phone and start the conversation, but so far Barkley is not ready to take the first step.
"He got my number," he said.
Here is the full '60 Minutes' interview: