LeBron James, sick and tired of repeated needling from Charles Barkley, unloaded on the TNT analyst late Monday night.
James’ comments come after Barkley criticized James for suggesting the Cavaliers need to bolster its roster in order to improve the chances of repeating.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James told ESPN. “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.”
Also addressed: Barkley’s suggestion that James’ friendship with Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade is out of line.
“Go watch the ’93 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot,” James said. “Barkley and Jordan were laughing and joking with each other during one of the games while somebody’s shooting a free throw. In the Finals. But, oh, nobody were friends back then.”
Still not done, James implied Barkley isn’t content his TNT gig.
“I know he wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can’t,” James said. “He’s stuck up on that stage every week.”
James then issued a challenge, of sorts.
“And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule’s out there,” James said. “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.”
It was only a matter of time until Barkley got counterpunched. It will be interesting if things escalate from here.