LeBron James and Charles Barkley are in a verbal fight for the ages.
Barkley, not one to hold back criticism when he feels it's deserved, called LeBron "inappropriate" and "whiny" after the Cavaliers star recently called out management for not doing enough to help the team win, adding that it "pisses me off that a guy that great don't wanna compete."
LeBron's pushed Barkley's attack aside a few days ago, but he didn't hold back when ESPN broached the subject after the Cavaliers lost the Mavericks Monday night.
"I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that," James told ESPN. "I'm not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, 'I'm not a role model.' I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.
"All I've done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that."
LeBron called Barkley a hypocrite for criticizing his friendships with opposing players and added that Barkley "wanted to retire a long time ago" but he can't.
"And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule's out there," LeBron said. "He knows every road arena I'll be in. Don't just come up to me at All-Star and shake my hand and smile."
And that wasn't enough: "Screw Charles Barkley," he said.
LeBron and the Cavs host the Timberwolves Wednesday night on ESPN. Sir Charles will get his next shot at national airtime Thursday on TNT's Inside the NBA.
Below is the NBA on TNT segment when Barkley called LeBron "whiny" for asking for more help.