His disastrous ownership tenure is over — it’s time Michael Jordan fix his relationship with Charles Barkley

His disastrous ownership tenure is over — it’s time Michael Jordan fix his relationship with Charles Barkley


His best friend told the truth about him, and he “took that personally.”

Michael Jordan’s watch officially ended this week as the owner of an NBA franchise when the league’s Board of Governors approved the sale of the Charlotte Hornets to an ownership group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. Jordan bought a majority stake in the team for $275 million in 2010. He made approximately $3 billion in the deal.

It’s the end of a 13-year era. Twice in the history of the NBA has a team been owned by a Black man, both times in Charlotte. First by Bob Johnson, and second by Jordan. Now, we don’t have a single majority owner who is Black between the three most prominent pro leagues (NBA, NFL, and MLB) in America.

And since Jordan will have more time on his schedule, it’s the perfect opportunity for him to repair his relationship with his former best friend — Charles Barkley. The relationship ended over a decade ago.

“It’s a really unfortunate situation for me and him,” Barkley told Taylor Rooks last fall. “But I’m going to do my job, first, and foremost. Because I can’t criticize other coaches and general managers, and give him a pass because he’s my best friend. I just can’t do that.”

“I said that he didn’t think Jordan had enough of a supporting cast around him in the front office to be successful and I said that, and I had no problem saying that because it was the truth. And he took offense and he called me, and it wasn’t a pleasant conversation, and we haven’t spoken since then.”

Jordan’s decision to sell the team has been a reminder of how bad he was at being an owner. During his time in Charlotte, the franchise had a 423-600 record (.413 win percentage) and never finished higher than sixth in the Eastern Conference. Fans in Charlotte never experienced winning a playoff series, as the lone postseason appearances came in 2014, and 2016 — both first-round exits. Along with a bunch of terrible and head-scratching draft picks, the franchise wasted $56 million on Cody Zeller, $56.7 million on Terry Rozier, and $120 million each on Nicola Batum and Gordon Hayward. But, most of all, during the 2011-2012 season the team had the lowest winning percentage in NBA history (.106) when they went 7-59.

Barkley told the truth. Jordan wanted his friend to spew fake news.

“I thought it would blow over, to be honest with you,” Barkley added. “And he’s stubborn, and I’m stubborn and that’s it.”

“What I said was what I believed. I’m sorry you took offense to it. And let’s get past this bullsh*t and go back to playing golf and having fun,” said Barkley when asked what he would say to Jordan.

Jordan hates losing more than he loves winning. And having a stain on his resume like the one he made in Charlotte will sting for a long time — no pun intended. But, losing a friend like Barkley might hurt even worse, especially since he was right. Two of the greatest basketball players of all time used to be best friends, and then they fell out. We’ve seen this happen before with Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas. We also saw them patch things up and come back together.

Your move, Mike and Chuck.

Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas shed tears in emotional reconciliation | ESPN


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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.