Charles Barkley laughed off comments from LeBron James on Tuesday as the former superstar and current superstar continued to trade barbs, with Barkley sticking by his criticism of James.
The long-distance exchange started last week, when Barkley said during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” that James was being “whiny” for saying the Cavaliers needed to add a playmaker at the same time Cleveland had the highest payroll in the league.
“Inappropriate,” Barkley said at the time. “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. He’s (LeBron) the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”
James fired back Monday, telling ESPN.com: “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. 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.
“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.”
It was Barkley’s turn again Tuesday during an appearance on the Waddle & Silvy show on ESPN radio.
“I stick by what I said, I’m not going to make this personal… he was all whiny last week,” Barkley said. “… I’m good and I’m straightforward, I’m never going to get personal on an NBA player.”
Asked if he felt James crossed the line, Barkley said: “I was laughing, clearly he did some homework … he Googled me and found some things. He was young when I was playing, so I appreciate that, but I’m not upset about it … my criticism was fair and I’m good with that.”