LeBron James has never been afraid to speak his mind, especially with his own team. However, Charles Barkley once took offense to that notion.
James has been through it all in his career. He’s been at the peak of the NBA mountain, and he’s also been at the bottom of it. One thing that’s stayed consistent though is his performance.
LeBron has never underperformed for his team (well outside the 2011 Finals if you want to be specific), and he’s been the leader of every franchise he’s played for.
In 2017, LeBron wasn’t feeling it with the Cavaliers. Cleveland was still the Eastern conference favorites, but the King simply didn’t believe his roster had what it took to compete with the Golden State Warriors at the highest level. He made some comments about the Cavs front office, and they didn’t exactly fly over Charles Barkley’s head too well.
Lebron James Full Highlights in the 2017 NBA Finals vs Warriors
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Charles Barkley called LeBron James’ comments whiny
LeBron was frustrated with the Cavs after they went through a rough patch in January 2017. They had lost five of their last seven games and James knew more needed to be done if they wanted to reach the NBA Finals again.
“We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint … we’re a top-heavy team,” James explained. “I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization. I just hope we not satisfied. How hard it was to do that s—. I just hope we’re not satisfied.”
He explained that the Cavs didn’t have much depth behind their starters as well. Kyrie’s backups were Kay Felder and DeAndre Liggins and while James praised their development, he knew they weren’t reliable playoff starters yet.
“No disrespect to DeAndre and to Kay, you think we can rely on them to help us win a playoff game right now?” James questioned. “And it’s no disrespect to them. But it’s like, it’s not fair to them.”
“He’s (Felder’s) gotten better, I commend him,” James further explained. “It’s tough for Coach (Tyronn Lue) because we’re in the process of trying to win a f—— championship.”
“It would’ve been unfair to Delly to ask him his rookie year to play on a championship-level team. So that’s why you got guys in front of him that allows him to (grow). We telling Kay to be a backup point guard to a f—— superstar right now, instead of being a backup point guard to a guy that’s proven in the league. You know what I’m saying?”
Barkley got on Inside the NBA to discuss LeBron’s comments, and he despised them. He said they were ‘whiny’ and that LeBron was the best player in the world and should try to compete. Barkley explained that LeBron had pretty much gotten everything he wanted, building the roster as he saw fit.
The Cavs also had the NBA’s highest payroll. So, why was LeBron complaining? At least, that’s how Barkley thought. You can listen to his rant in this video: