After Charles Barkley took James to task for openly discussing his free agency following the 2010 season, the current Cleveland Cavalier called the former Right Guard pitchman "stupid."
From the Associated Press:
"He's stupid. That's all I've got to say about that," James said Friday night before the Cavaliers' game against Golden State.
Barkley made the comments on TNT's NBA studio show and Dan Patrick's radio show.
"If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up," the Hall of Famer said on Patrick's show. "I'm a big LeBron fan. He's a stud. You gotta give him his props. I'm getting so annoyed he's talking about what he's going to do in two years. I think it's disrespectful to the game. I think it's disrespectful to the Cavaliers."
James has made no secret about his desire to be a transcendent world icon.
He's flirted with the idea of playing in Europe and built a rather impressive stable of celebrity friends.
He's even hosted "Saturday Night Live" in (gasp) New York.He's also carried a mediocre Cleveland team to the NBA Finals, rejuvenated a franchise and averaged 27.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists this year.
Ironically, Barkley is pleading for James to shut up and just play basketball. There's a few people out there who would have preferred the Round Mound of Doubling Down did the same during his career.
Look, Barkley is going to say exactly what's on his mind. He's boisterous and entertaining. That's why he's gainfully employed as an analyst. But he's missed the mark here.
Pretending this enormous cloud of uncertainty isn't hanging over LeBron's future would just be ignorant. So would pretending Cleveland as sexy of a market as the Big Apple.
Until all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed on James' lucrative new deal, it's going to be a story.
Hopefully this little tiff goes away though -- not that we need to see any more kissing and making up from Chuck.
Anything less would be, well... uncivilized.