Charles Barkley has lived a series of controversies during his NBA career and even after that, the big man wasn't safe from those situations. The Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns legend shared what is the most difficult part of his job during the 4-part series about "Inside the NBA".
The 1993 NBA MVP had to do and say certain things that created friction with other players, including Kobe Bryant, who really went off on Chuck after he failed to win Game 7 of the Western Conference first-round against the Phoenix Suns. The Black Mamba had a terrible game and the team didn't find its touch, raising a lot of eyebrows around the league.
At the time, Chuck called Kobe 'selfish', which didn't sit well with the then 3x NBA champion. Kobe was criticized that season for not passing the ball and getting all the shots for himself, especially in Game 6, where he dropped 50 points and the team lost. Kobe replied by taking 16 shots in Game 7, in a game the Lakers lost 121-90.
"The criticizing players, that's the hardest part of this job. Remember the night Kobe wouldn't shoot? We had that game. I went off on him, I said 'you know, Kobe really made me mad that game, he wouldn't shoot the ball.' He was very selfish. I get back to my hotel room, Kobe starts texting me, calling me every MF in the book. This goes off for like 45 minutes to an hour and it's like 3.30 in the morning."
After that series was over, Kobe joined the crew during those playoffs and he had to address that situation with Chuck, explaining what he felt when he heard Barkley saying those things about his game. Kobe said that the strategy worked for three games but when they tried to make it work for the seventh game of the series, it didn't. He admitted he felt hurt by those comments, especially coming from Charles.
This is something that modern players and fans are seeing today, too. Chuck and Shaquille O'Neal have been involved in controversies recently for their takes on young players. They are often going off on players, with fans criticizing them for making some hot takes. As you know now, that isn't new for these guys and it won't stop because that's their job.