Charles Barkley says he has no intention of smoothing things over with LeBron James
The TNT analyst does not see the point in reaching out to the superstar
NBA television analyst Charles Barkley apparently does not see the point of reaching out to LeBron James and attempting to things over. Since the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar lashed out at Barkley on Monday, the Hall of Famer has maintained that calling James "whiny" was fair. In an interview with The Undefeated's Mike Wise, Barkley said he was just doing his job, not being a "hater."
From The Undefeated:
When the NBA's most prominent critic and its greatest active player spar going on a week, it's bound to produce clicks. But at this point, why doesn't Charles Barkley just reach out to LeBron James and bury the hatchet?
"For what?" Barkley asked rhetorically Wednesday. "For tellin' the truth? What am I supposed to say, 'You're the greatest player in the world'? You've got two All-Stars and you want me to feel sorry for you? Do you think Carmelo [Anthony] would be happy with two All-Stars? I think he'd be happy."
"I thought my criticism was fair," Barkley told The Undefeated. "So I don't understand why he took it so personally. But you know what, I'm a big boy. I'm good."
Barkley ended the conversation with an in-my-day musing: "It's a different generation," he said. "If we don't say everything positive about them all the time, we're a hater. But I've gotten more support than I saw coming. To be honest with you, it's been great. Especially the guys in the media who are like, 'Thank you. I can't say it because I need to talk to him.' "
Does this surprise you in the slightest? Barkley has certainly taken some heat in the wake of James' comments, but it hardly seems like enough to make him reconsider his position. It's easy for Barkley to say he was simply speaking his mind, which is what he is paid to do. He's not the type of guy who apologizes for his opinions on a regular basis.
It's worth noting, though, that James isn't the type of guy who freaks out every time something negative is said about him. This probably would have never escalated if Barkley had simply said that he disagreed with James' comments about the Cavs needing more depth. He did that, and then he questioned James' competitiveness, a specific type of criticism that elite athletes tend to take seriously. James had every right to respond, especially with Barkley's history of being the "back when I played ..." guy.
There are surely people around the league who would prefer that Barkley and James resolve the issue. These are two strong personalities, though, and there's no reason to expect that to happen anytime soon.
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