Charles Barkley accused Michael Jordan of excessive whining about his rib injury during the 2001 NBA Draft

Samir Mehdi
|Published August 20, 2022

Charles Barkley, on national television during the 2001 NBA Draft, told the world that he was tired of Michael Jordan whining. 

Michael Jordan had let it be known during the 1998 season with the Chicago Bulls that if Phil Jackson was not brought back as head coach, he would not be back on the roster the coming year. General Manager, Jerry Krause, on the other hand made it incredibly clear that he was not bringing ‘The Zen Master’ back for a 10th season. 

With Phil out of the picture and the Bulls looking for a hard reset, the 6x Finals MVP retired for a second time. However, instead of pursuing another North American sport, MJ delved into the front office space of the NBA. He became the President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards and personally signed off on the Kwame Brown draft pick in 2001. 

While he may have been in the front office, he certainly didn’t shy away from picking up the rock and challenging NBA players during practices. In one instance in a pick-up game involving Ron Artest, Michael Jordan happened to suffer quite the rib injury after getting elbowed in that area by Artest. 

This led to national headlines picking it up and breaking down just when Jordan would return to NBA play.

Also read: 6x NBA Champ Michael Jordan explains why ‘love for the game’ was the reason for not coaching his kids

Charles Barkley on the Michael Jordan rib injury. 

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were incredibly close with one another up until the former decided to publicly criticize his front office moves with the Wizards. This led to a rift between them that hasn’t repaired to this day. When it comes to 2001 however, the two were still great friends. 

While MJ was on air with John Thompson talking about his Kwame Brown pick and justifying it, Chuck hilariously told the world that he believes the Bulls legend had been whining a bit too much about his extensive rib injury. Unfortunately, their banter was cut short by Commissioner David Stern announcing a pick.


The events leading up to the broken ribs were greatly exaggerated by the media at the time, with them going as far as to claim Artest and Jordan were wrestling one another. In reality, according to Metta World Peace a couple years ago, he just dug his elbow into Jordan on one play after getting fouled by him.

Also read: 6’6 Michael Jordan talked about the significance of playing at the Madison Square Garden

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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