“Charles Barkley needs to shut up,” Miami Heat superstar LeBron James effectively said of the NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst over Barkley slamming Heat teammate Dwyane Wade.
Barkley, known for his outspoken manner, has been critical of Wade of late.
Miami, considered one of the elite NBA teams and among the favorites to snatch a second consecutive NBA championship, improved to 14-5 after Monday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, who now have a 12-6 record.
Barkley has slammed Wade for his offensive output and asserted that the Heat star is on the decline. The Heat guard put up 26 points Monday, just one behind James, who was the game’s leading scorer.
James was asked what Monday’s victory meant for his team.
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"It means Charles Barkley, you shut up," James told the media following the game, according to USA Today.
Wade, one-third of the trio of Miami superstars that includes James and Chris Bosh, said he’s tuned out Barkley’s comments. But his Heat teammates say Wade does pay attention to Sir Charles’ criticisms.
Wade dismissed Barkley’s comments and made the case for his skills after Monday’s game against the Hawks.
"I'm not the all-time leading scorer around here for nothing," the 10-year NBA veteran and two-time champion said, according to Fox Sports Florida.
Barkley began the criticism Nov. 29, and Wade responded by scoring 34 points against the Brooklyn Nets, a season high for the Heat guard.
But that didn’t stop Sir Charles from ripping into Wade.
James is also not immune to criticism, and said Barkley slamming his teammate helped take the focus off King James’ game.
Yet, James stood up for his teammate.
"The man is shooting 80 percent the last couple of games," he said, according to Fox Sports Florida. "Come on. That's crazy. Seriously . . . He's unbelievable. I do (want Barkley to keep criticizing Wade). I love it. When someone's not saying stuff about me, I'm glad that somebody finally got off me for a change."