Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley have enjoyed a complicated relationship with one another from the time they both entered the NBA in 1984. MJ was the 3rd pick in the 1984 NBA draft and Barkley went just a couple of spots behind him in 5th. Both quickly established themselves as superstar-level players in the league and were selected for the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.
Now, by 1992, MJ had won his second NBA title to go with the absurd numbers he put up throughout his career and he enjoyed not letting his rivals win too. Barkley was putting up incredible numbers too, but he didn't have the titles to show for it. After getting a move to the Phoenix Suns, it seemed that Barkley would finally have a chance to win the championship, something he vowed to do while beating Michael Jordan after a comment from legendary coach Chuck Daly (via Sportskeeda).
"Chuck Daly said to me, he's like, 'Charles, can I talk to you for a second.' I say, 'Yeah Chuck, anything.' He says, 'You're the second-best basketball player in the world.' I said, 'Who better than me?' ... He says, 'That mother*****r right there'."
"I said, 'You're right about that.' I've said it many times, that's the best compliment I've ever gotten from somebody. I said, 'I actually agree with you'. I said, 'But you know what? I'm gonna put an end to that shit next year. We're playing them mother*****rs in the finals and I'm gonna bring it'."
Barkley made it to the Finals next season too, with the chance to win his first and deny MJ his 3rd, but the Suns fell short as the Bulls completed the first three-peat of the Michael Jordan era. MJ averaged a ridiculous 41 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while Barkley himself had 27.3 points and 13 rebounds per game. Their relationship may have soured later in life, but MJ and Barkley were undisputedly the two best players in the world in 1993. Jordan was just a bit better, like Daly said.