Charles Barkley once exclaimed to a a referee that he knows it’s Michael Jordan but that a foul should’ve been called on him.
Michael Jordan experienced what only a handful of people that have ever lived did. Guys ike Michael Jackson and Muhammed Ali are ones who come to mind when talking about cultural icons who were on par with Jordan in terms of being a global superstar. ‘The Last Dance’ docuseries outlined just popular MJ was across the world.
The NBA, following the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson era, were looking for someone else to take up the mantle of ‘face of the NBA’. Luckily for the league, not only was Michael Jordan the perfect successor to the Lakers and Celtics legends, but was in fact better than them.
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Along with this popularity, came a few quirks in terms of favoritism from the NBA. This isn’t to say that Jordan had games fixed in his favor but there is something to be said about how much the league benefitted, financially, from the success of the Chicago Bulls.
Charles Barkley calls out NBA ref for showing favoritism towards Michael Jordan.
Charles Barkley is one of the most outspoken superstars we’ve had in this league and he’s been that way ever since his playing days. During a game against the Bulls, the Rockets star called out a ref who didn’t call a foul on Michael Jordan when he so clearly committed one.
Some argue that refs those days didn’t call ‘soft’ fouls and that is true. However, Jordan very clearly altered the shot that the Rockets player was attempting and it should have been called against. There is even a split second where MJ looks at the ref, anticipating a foul and then walks back on offense after realizing it wasn’t going to get called.
As mentioned before, putting Michael Jordan in foul trouble wasn’t exactly the smartest business decision that refs could make at the time. Let’s face it, fans of both the Bulls and Rockets would’ve been livid to potentially see ‘His Airness’ be booted from a game.