Charles Barkley gets paid to talk, and there's no one the NBA legend likes to talk about more than LeBron James. Over the years, Barkley has called out LeBron more often than he's called Dominos. The criticism began with LeBron's infamous "Decision," which Barkley called "stupid." After LeBron joined the Heat, Barkley said he'd become "wussified" and "sensitive." More recently, Barkley said LeBron has no chance to ever be a top-five NBA great—a dubious opinion indeed.
Throughout all of this, LeBron has remained fairly composed. He responded to Barkley's broadsides here and there and once recorded a commercial that basically called him fat, but it wasn't until Monday night that LeBron finally exploded.
So what set him off? Last week, LeBron called out the Cavs front office for not providing the team with enough talent. Barkley replied by saying LeBron is "inappropriate" and "whiny." Then he suggested LeBron did not want to compete.
LeBron went ballistic.
"He's a hater," he told ESPN. "What makes what he says credible? Because he's on TV?"
LeBron continued ripping Barkley while referencing some of the worst moments from his career. "I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that," LeBron said. "I'm not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, 'I'm not a role model.' I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying."
"I've done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that."
LeBron saved his most cutting remark for last, when he essentially called Barkley poor. "I know he wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can't," James said. "He's stuck up on that stage every week."
DAMN. If there's a verbal equivalent of getting dunked on, this is it.