“I criticized Kobe Bryant one time, and he was cursing me out from 1 o’clock to 4 0’clock in the morning”: Charles Barkley reveals the Black Mamba’s heated response to his criticism

Arjun Julka
|Published December 17, 2021

Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley reveals Kobe Bryant sent him a barrage of curse messages when the former criticized him for his performance.

Charles Barkley is unlike any other sportscaster or analyst. The Phoenix MVP is known for his brutal honesty and bold takes. Barkley never shies away from giving his opinion no matter how big the personality or sensitive the issue is.

During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Barkley narrated a hilarious story about Kobe Bryant. Sir Charles revealed that he had criticized the Lakers legend for not taking any shot in the second half of the game against the Phoenix Suns, trying to prove a point of not having any help.

The game that Barkley was referring to was Game Seven of the 2006 western conference finals. Kobe took only three shots in the second half of the game, scoring one point, resulting in the Lakers losing Game Seven. The two-time scoring champion had only 24-points in the elimination game.

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Barkley had no qualms about criticizing Kobe heavily on national television, calling him selfish. At the time, people believed the Lakers guard wanted to prove a point with his performance.

Charles Barkley reveals the night Kobe Bryant cursed at him.

Barkley does not mince his words. The eleven-time All-Star is known for his brutal honesty. Kobe’s Game Seven performance in the 2006 conference finals had a lot of unanswered questions. There were several theories to that performance of Kobe trying to prove a point.

Recently, Barkley revealed that he and Kobe had some heated exchange of messaged after the former called him out for his performance.

“When I get guys complimented, they never f***ing call me. Kobe Bryant, who I love, and rest in peace, I said for three or five years, he was the best basketball player in the world, and one night against the Phoenix Suns, he didn’t take any shots in the game in the second half, and  I went off on him after the game saying, ‘Kobe, I’ve always liked you, but what you did tonight was bogus. You didn’t take a shot in the second half. You were trying to prove a point that you didn’t have any help,'” Barkley recalled. “He called me from 1 o’clock in the morning until 4 o’clock in the morning, cursing me out like a dog. It was all in text (message). We were going back and forth and I was like, ‘Yo, would you please call me?’ He called me every name in the book.”

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Kobe was not one of the players to take such criticism lightly. Thus he would let Barkley know what he felt. The Lakers superstar, who had 50-points in the previous game, would attempt only three shots in the second half of the elimination game. Thus questions were bound to arise.

The two-time Finals MVP averaged 27.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.1 APG, and 1.1 SPG in that series. Kobe shot almost 50% from the field and 40.0% from the 3-point line.

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Kobe was not the only player to have a heated exchange with Barkley as the latter revealed he had faced a similar situation with LeBron James.


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About the author

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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