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Before Charles Barkley’s Friendship With Michael Jordan Ended, He Opened Up About Lessons He Learned From The Chicago Bulls Vet

 Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.

Throughout his illustrious career in the NBA, Charles Barkley faced off with some of the best athletes to ever play the game, and he also became chummy with more than a few of them. Chief among them was Michael Jordan, with whom he shared a funny, brotherly relationship. Unfortunately, that friendship broke down some time in the 2010s and, as of this writing, the two apparently haven’t spoken to each other in quite some time. Barkley still cordially discusses Jordan and “losing” his friendship with him. He was also even more complimentary of him before their personal relationship dissolved. That was particularly true during a discussion in which the “Round Mound of Rebound” revealed the invaluable lessons he learned from the Chicago Bulls icon.

What Did Charles Barkley Say About Michael Jordan Before Their Friendship Ended?

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan met each other during the 1984 Summer Olympic Trials and gradually became acquainted. Both entered the NBA at the same time, as they were picks in the 1984 Draft. From there, the bond between the two eventual All-Stars continued to develop and extended beyond their matchups on the court, including the 1993 NBA Finals. Barkley once conveyed that while being interviewed on In Depth With Graham Bensinger (as shared on YouTube). When asked by the eponymous host how MJ had impacted his life, Barkley spoke to the star’s knowledge of business-related affairs:

Well, I think that Michael has always been like a brother to me. Michael is a great businessman. If you go back and look at it, Michael was probably the first jock businessman. Magic Johnson’s done some tremendous things, but Michael Jordan’s probably the first jock businessman. You know, developing his own brand, he taught me about stock options. Because I was making a nice chunk of change from Nike… And he says, ‘Stop taking so much cash. Take stock options.’ And, if I could remember correctly, I think I quadrupled my money, because the Nike stock split several times. It was really a great business decision, and he taught me to learn to take care of my money, to be a businessman. ... And I think being around him has made me a better businessman. But he’s been a great mentor to me in the business world, and he’s been a great friend.

The six-time NBA champion has indeed been successful in his business ventures, having established the Air Jordan Brand under Nike in 1984 and earned a vast number of endorsements. The ex-Bull also became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (later the Hornets) in 2010, marking a milestone for a former player. So it’s easy to understand how his buddy would’ve learned so much from him during their years of hanging out.

Today, “Sir Charles” has likely held onto those lessons, and he’s been quite successful. His contracts with TNT’s Inside the NBA would suggest that. Of course, all the while, he hasn’t maintained his friendship with the Space Jam star. Based on what’s known about their falling-out, it seems it greatly came down to a difference of opinion.

Why Did The Two NBA Legends Stop Being Friends?

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Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA
Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA

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The hall of famer previously explained that Michael Jordan supposedly took offense to an assertion he made years ago. Charles Barkley reportedly opined that Jordan needed to put a better group of people around him from a professional standpoint. The outspoken former basketball player believed that Jordan didn’t have enough people around him who would be honest with him instead of stroking his ego. With that, their personal relationship apparently dissipated. As for whether the two could ever repair their friendship, Barkley had a four-word response: “He’s got my number.”

As mentioned though, he has still spoken highly of MJ since they stopped being buddies. The TNT vet lauded his fellow hall of famer’s skills during the docuseries The Last Dance (which is available to stream with a Netflix subscription). He also clapped back at Scottie Pippen – who’s been feuding with Michael Jordan for several years now – for taking shots at his former Bulls teammate over the doc and more. (Though the TV personality did share savage thoughts on Jordan and Pippen possibly reuniting for a team ceremony held earlier this year.)

So, Charles Barkley may not be on speaking terms with Michael Jordan at this point, it would seem that he still has respect for him today as he did when he gave that interview. It unfortunately seems like there’s no chance of them reconciling at this point. But, who knows, maybe they’ll link up again sometime in the future.