Charles Barkley Discusses Rift with Michael Jordan, Says He Feels 'Sadness'

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 6, 2020

PHOENIX, AZ- 1993:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls and Charles Barkley #34 of the Phoenix Suns look son during the game between the two teams circa 1993 at America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1993 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The images of Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley joking around in the most recent episodes of ESPN's The Last Dance were a vivid reminder of how far the two basketball legends have drifted apart.

Their friendship has yet to recover from Barkley calling out Jordan's failures as the owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats, and according to the current NBA on TNT analyst, it won't get better any time soon.

"The guy was like a brother to me for, shoot, 20-something years," Barkley said Tuesday on Waddle and Silvy (h/t ESPN's Nick Friedell). "At least 20-something years. And I do, I feel sadness. But to me, he's still the greatest basketball player ever. I wish him nothing but the best. But there's nothing I can do about it, brother."

Barkley said Jordan has his number and knows how to get in touch but that he doesn't expect that to happen.

Back in 2012, during another appearance on Waddle and Silvythe Hall of Famer let loose about why the Bobcats continued to fail under Jordan's ownership, saying in part: "I love Michael, but he just has not done a good job. Even though he is one of my great friends, I can't get on here and tell you he's done a great job. He has not done a great job, plain and simple."

The hypercompetitive Jordan apparently ended their friendship over those words.

Via Friedell, Barkley said:

"The thing that bothered me the most about that whole thing, I don't think that I said anything that bad. I'm pretty sure I said, 'As much as I love Michael, until he stops hiring them kiss-asses, and his best friends, he's never going to be successful as a general manager.' And I remember pretty much verbatim I said that. And the thing that really pissed me off about it later is Phil Jackson said the exact same thing."

While Jackson and Jordan still have a relationship, Barkley has been cut out.

The scenes of Barkley and Jordan laughing while riding the bus during The Last Dance only drove home how long it's been since the two were on solid terms. Leaving one of the more intense Dream Team practices, it was Barkley cracking jokes that broke up the lingering tension. 

Barkley is on TV regularly throughout the NBA season. If Jordan is ever ready to speak again, it won't be hard for them to connect.