After years of what must've been pent up frustration, LeBron James unleashed on NBA Hall of Famer/TNT analyst Charles Barkley following the Cavs' 104-97 Monday night loss to the Mavericks.
"He's a hater," James told ESPN. "What makes what he says credible? Because he's on TV? (...) I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. 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.
"All 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's irritation, though undoubtedly a long time coming, was a result of Barkley criticizing him for publicly saying he wanted Cleveland to add players before the trade deadline. "Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above," Barkley stated from the TNT set last week. "The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He's the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don't want to compete? He is an amazing player. They're the defending champs."
Barkley, who's clearly never been afraid to speak his mind, responded to LeBron's Monday night rant on ESPN radio on Tuesday afternoon. First, he doubled down on the "whiny" comments, before stating that he wouldn't get personal:
Obviously he wasn't done there. Thankfully ESPN's Rachel Nichols tweeted out his responses, which make it easier for both those of you reading and those of us putting it together:
Guess we'll have to see how long it takes for LeBron to respond to this. We're guessing it won't take 14 years.