Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan were very close during their playing days in the NBA. Both players were stand-outs of the 1984 NBA Draft class and went on to become some of the greatest players in the history of the NBA.
Jordan and Barkley would make history together in 1992, when they were part of the iconic 1992 Team USA ‘Dream Team’ that won Olympic gold in Barcelona and did so in dominant fashion.
The very next year, the two friends would face off in the 1993 NBA Finals, as Barkley won his first MVP and led the Suns to the Finals against reigning 2-time NBA Champions Chicago Bulls. Barkley and the Suns put up a good fight, but could not defeat the Bulls.
Jordan helped the Chicago Bulls three-peat, but that seemed like it would be his last accomplishment in the NBA. Jordan announced his retirement from basketball after the series and prepared to pursue professional baseball.
While Jordan’s absence from the game was huge, his presence was still there with his shoes. Despite MJ not playing, the Jordan shoes were still the most popular in the league. In what could have been an attempt to create a new star, Charles Barkley received his own shoe from Nike.
In a hilarious commercial from 1994, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan spoke about their respective shoes, competing over which one is better. Barkley hilariously remarked whether Jordan could dunk like him in his shoes, calling him ‘Mr. I-Don’t-Play-Anymore’.
The commercial is a lost gem, with few fans having seen it before. MJ would eventually return to the NBA the next year, and immediately took back his spot as the best player in the league, and winning another 3 NBA championships.
Since then, Barkley and Jordan have actually had a falling out, and are no longer friends. While we can hope that they eventually reconcile and become friends again, this commercial serves as a prime showcase of just how funny the two were as friends.