When LeBron James isn’t happy, he makes sure to let other people know it. This time, his target is former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley.
Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ latest loss on Monday night to the struggling Dallas Mavericks, James went off on Barkley, telling ESPN that he’s a “hater”.
“He’s a hater,” James said following the game. “What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?”
James also took shots at Barkley’s past.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James continued. “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.”
James and company are certainly frustrated, having lost six of their last 10 games. Despite this, they’re still in the top spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. However, James’ frustrations have boiled over following Barkley’s latest comments, in which the former NBA All-Star called him “whiny.”
“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above,” Barkley said of James last week. “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 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.”
Of course, there’s also the speculation that James was instrumental in the firing of former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt and replacing him with friend Tyronn Lue.
LeBron James is certainly the biggest factor in how the Cavaliers do business, and it isn’t hard to see. Barkley is simply doing what he’s paid to do – analyze the game and its players.
“I’m tired of biting my tongue,” James said. “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
Sorry, LeBron, but the sheriff needs to learn how to take criticism.