CLEVELAND, Ohio — Charles Barkley is standing firm after LeBron James blasted him, calling him “a hater” earlier this week.
It all happened after Barkley took issue last week with James’ call for the Cavaliers to secure another playmaker to help contend for a second-straight NBA title.
The outspoken TNT “Inside the NBA” analyst called James “inappropriate” and “whiny.”
James told ESPN following the Cavs’ 104-97 loss at Dallas on Monday night that Barkley is “a hater” and added that he’s not going to let Barkley “disrespect my legacy.”
James also brought up some of Barkley’s past controversies and legal troubles, before saying, “All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way.”
The four-time NBA MVP says he’s tired of biting his tongue and “there’s a new sheriff in town.”
Barkley responded to the lashing Tuesday night in an interview with ESPN Chicago’s 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show, USA Today reports.
“When you don’t like the messenger, you just kill the messenger,” he said. “Some of those things he said about me are correct, that does not make my message incorrect.”
Barkley maintains that James was “whiny.”
“Dude, you just won the championship, and it’s in the middle of the season and you’re bashing your teammates, that’s not right,” said Barkley. “I’ve said the guy is the best player in the world, I’ve said he’s a wonderful guy. I’m not sure how that constitutes hating just because I say he’s coming out bashing his teammates everyday…I thought it was inappropriate for him to talk every single day about how bad his team was. I thought it was a fair criticism.”