Kenny Smith even bragged to TMZ Sports about being the peacemaker who brought the NBA Hall of Famers together.
So, Sir Charles and MJ are back to being BFFs, right? Not quite.
On ESPN's The Dan Le Batard Show on Tuesday, Barkley said the picture of him and Jordan last month was nothing more than a photo op — an "awkward" one at that — and the two hoop legends aren't back to being friends, to his dismay.
"I love Michael. I miss Michael’s friendship. He was a great friend to me for a long period of time, and I love him and I miss him like a brother. But we just happened to be at the same place. We have not [become friends again]," Barkley said. "I would love to mend that relationship, but we just happened to be at the same place and we took a picture together. It was a public forum. I wish Michael nothing but the best. I love him like a brother, but we are not back to where we used to be."
Barkley went on to confirm that the wedge in their friendship came when he publicly criticized the then-Charlotte Bobcats — now Hornets — for their dismal play under Jordan's ownership a few years back.
"I think that some people, when you’re their friend, they expect you to have their back, no matter what," Barkley continued. "And part of my job sucks sometimes, when I have to criticize people I like or a friend. And what I said about Michael, which was that he had to do a better job of putting people around him because I thought he had too many people around him that just did what he said to do, and he took it personal."
Barkley added: "He got really angry ... but hey man, I feel like I have to do my job. I have told people, I really miss the guy. He was like a brother to me for 30 years. But he got upset at me and we haven’t spoken. That was the first time I had seen or spoken to him in years."
Barkley added that despite missing Jordan's friendship, he's "not going to apologize for doing [his] job."
Do you think the two will be able to patch up their friendship any time soon?
Listen to Barkley's comments on The Dan Le Batard Show below.
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(Photos from left: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for SHOWTIME, ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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