LEBRON James has had enough of the constant criticism he’s been getting from NBA legend turned TV analyst Charles Barkley as the Cleveland Cavaliers star held nothing back in calling out the ‘Inside the NBA’ host and basketball Hall of Famer on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
“He’s a hater. What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?” a frustrated James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin shortly after the Cavs lost to the Dallas Mavericks, 104-97.
James had been talk show fodder for Barkley for years, going back to 2010 when he called James’ decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami a ‘punk move.' Barkley had also been on record numerous times in saying the four-time MVP would never make it among the five greatest players in NBA history.
After James’ comments on the Cavs needing another playmaker last week, Barkley fired another tirade on the Cavs star.
“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above,” said Barkley on the ‘Inside the NBA’ last week, referring to James. “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," he added.
This did not sit well with James, who had taken the high road just last Friday after the Cavs defeated the Nets in calling Barkley’s previous comments as ‘good for the ratings.’ But following another loss, James was in no mood to be diplomatic.
"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,” he said.
"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," added James.
James also went so far as to issue a challenge to Barkley.
"I know he wanted to retire a long time ago but he can't. He's stuck up on that stage every week. And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule's out there. He knows every road arena I'll be in. Don't just come up to me at All-Star and shake my hand and smile," he said.
“I’m tired of biting my tongue. There’s a new sheriff in town,” added James.