For a guy who never won an NBA championship, Charles Barkley sure is critical of a guy who wants a ring. Ever since LeBron James made "The Decision," the Round Mound of Buffet Tables has been trashing James every chance he gets.
During an interview with ESPN Radio 103.3 a few days ago, Barkley called James going to Miami a “punk move."
However, during a different interview with Fanhouse Thursday night, Barkley tried to backtrack a bit on the "punk" accusation: "I should have never used that word,'' said Barkley, sounding at first as if was an apology. "It was bull (bleep). Bull (bleep) is a better word.
Gotcha! No apology. Sir Charles doesn't do apologizing very well. So it continued with Barkley on the offensive regarding James' decision to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to pursue a title with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat:
"He's got to win multiple championships to make that situation work, at least two. If not, his legacy is going to take a serious hit.''
Barkley also noted the ill-advised public relations decisions that James has been making as of late:
"He took out the full page ad and didn't mention Cleveland,'' Barkley said of James, who bought an ad in the Akron Beacon Journal to thank fans in his Ohio hometown. It should be noted James later thanked Cleveland fans at an Akron event. Too late, says Barkley. "He's making himself more of a public enemy," he said about the reigning NBA MVP.
Then there's James making a "Mental List" of all those who have criticized him over the last couple of months -- remember, the criticism began after a disappointing exit from the playoffs where more than a few observers thought he quit.
"This thing that he's taking mental notes, I'm bothered by him taking mental notes,'' Barkley said. "He thinks he can't get criticized. Every player who ever played the game has been criticized. I played against Michael Jordan. They said he couldn't win in the beginning (of his career before later winning six titles). It's the notion you can't get criticized I have a problem with.''
Above all, Barkley didn’t like that James didn’t forewarn Cavaliers management before going on an ESPN special to announce his intentions to leave the team. Barkley also points out that he wouldn't have made the same move. Just wasn't his style.
"He's a two-time defending MVP,'' Barkley said. "He doesn't leave his city. They (players) come to him. If I'm the man, I'm not going to go anywhere else. They got to come to me. He's going to Dwyane Wade's team any way you slice it.
"I got no problem with him leaving Cleveland. But he could have handled it in a different way. That show was ridiculous and dancing on the stage was ridiculous [during the welcome to Miami celebration at American Airlines Arena]. (James should have said to Cleveland), 'I thank you all for everything, but I'm going to go and play in Miami now.'''
Again, it’s important to note that Barkley is considered the poster-boy for great players who never won a title. If he, at this point, still thinks “being the guy” is more important than winning a championship, that goes a long way in explaining why he’s ringless after a very impressive career.
Months later, with “The Decision” having officially sunk in, has public opinion about LeBron James changed or is Barkley dead on?
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