Udonis Haslem sides with LeBron James in Charles Barkley beef
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week or so, you’ve heard the back-and-forth banter between Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and former NBA player Charles Barkley.
James’ recent comments about the current status of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to strike a nerve with Barkley.
“We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint,” James told reporters after Monday’s loss. “We’re a top-heavy team. I just hope we’re not satisfied as an organization.”
Some analysts, including Barkley, considered James’ words to be a shot at management. On Thursday, during an airing of Inside the NBA on TNT, members of the panel were asked what they thought of James’ comments. Ernie Johnson, host of the show, asked Barkley to fill in the blank, saying: “LeBron James’ comments were…” Barkley replied with a surprisingly long-winded answer.
“Inappropriate, whiny. Uh, all of the above,” Barkley replied. “The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him (James) everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted Shumpert (Iman Shumpert) last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver…”
“He (James) is the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? Does he not want to compete? He is an amazing player, but this notion… They’re the defending champs, and for him to be trying to hold anything over Dan Gilbert’s head…”
“And I love all of these wild, punk-ass reporters on television, who’s afraid to call LeBron a great (player). LeBron is a great guy, but this notion that he’s got to have all of the best players on his team… He’s got Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He wants everybody. He doesn’t want to compete. He wanna be the favorite all the time? It just pissed me off that a guy that great doesn’t want to compete.”
After Monday night’s 104-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, James lashed out at Barkley for his continued criticism.
“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that,” James said. “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.”
“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. I collect one paycheck from this. There’s the owner, Griff’s (David Griffin) the GM, I’m the player. Screw Charles Barkley.”
LeBron James ethers Charles Barkley during epic post-game rant pic.twitter.com/V6OVPvP9u6
— Complex (@Complex) January 31, 2017
With regards to the feud, James has been receiving support from his peers and former teammates, including Dwyane Wade, Chuck D, Shannon Sharpe, and now – Udonis Haslem. Anthony Chiang has Haslem’s quote in his recent article with PalmBeachPost.com.
“He should have went at him sooner,” Haslem said. “Chuck be tripping, man. I’ve been saying that for a long time. Ever since we put together the Big Three, it seems like he never had nothing positive to say about LeBron or D-Wade. They’re better than me. I would’ve been went at him.”
“At the end of the day, we understand that you get paid to do your job. But don’t see somebody and smile to their face, and then when you get on TV, all you’re doing is stabbing people. That’s what we call throwing rocks and hiding your hands, Chuck.”
James probably said it best when he recently told ESPN: “I’m tired of biting my tongue. There’s a new sheriff in town.”