Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were great friends with each other during their playing days, although that bond has soured now.
Given Jordan’s unprecedented fame and success, the Bulls legend was constantly surrounded by yes-men and sycophants. He also had to bear the company of quite a few people he didn’t really like – because that was necessary.
Celebrities with that stature have always needed people in their life who’ll be only there when you want them. It’s a lonely mountain to be on when you’re at the top of the world. To be successful in life, you need people who understand the role they’re playing for you and with you.
That’s what Michael Jordan had – a strongly-knit family and a team of people looking out for him at every turn. And when he wanted to unwind and relax, he’d need company from a network of trusted friends.
Charles Barkley was once included in that circle of trust, given his propensity to give MJ the unfiltered truth. Over time, Jordan has grown distant to Barkley since their retirement – mainly because of Chuck’s criticism of MJ’s front office work.
“Michael Jordan appreciates how I don’t bug him”: Charles Barkley on the Oprah Winfrey Show
Barkley roasted Jordan all through his short appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. But there was one question that he answered with sincerity and to the point. This was regarding their relationship:
“I love him. I’ve known him, we met at the 1984 Olympics trials, and we just had a chemistry. I think the one thing that he appreciates about me is that I don’t bug him.”
“Like you know how people wanna hang out with Michael Jordan cuz he’s Michael Jordan. And it’s the same thing about me – not on his level, not on your (Oprah’s) level. I’ve got the boys calling me all the day, bugging me.”
“I’ve been out with a lot of famous people, but he’s the only one who gets that level of attention. They go CRAZY over this man like no one else.”
“We were out in Phoenix when he was trying to play baseball. We were playing pool out there, and we had an area roped off when we played. It’d be a hundred people just standing behind the rope, just staring at him all night.”