One thing that has made NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley arguably the most popular sports analyst in America is that he has no problems speaking his mind and calling out any player when he deems it necessary.
No one has ever been exempt and that includes Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Throughout his 20-year career, Bryant often switched from being beloved to being controversial and flat-out hated by some fans.
Kobe was known to be very demanding and had no problems making points about his displeasure both on and off the court and one of those caught the ire of Barkley and led to an angry text exchange between the two.
Barkley recently appeared on the 24/7 Sports Series with Evan Daniels and was asked about whether he gets contacted by players or others when he gets off the air. Barkley recalled one particular instance in which Bryant angrily texted him following Barkley calling him out after a playoff game in which Kobe wouldn’t shoot:
“I always tell people the funniest story was the great Kobe Bryant. Remember that one game he wouldn’t shoot in the second half? I called him out after that, because he shot one time in the second half. He was trying to prove a point that he didn’t have any help. I was livid with what he tried to do and I called him out.
“When I got off the air — we get off around 2 or 2:30 (a.m. ET) depending on all the stuff we have to do — and Kobe started texting me for the next three hours. We’re going back and forth and he’s calling me every M.F., every SOB in the world, and I’m laughing as I get these. I’m like, ‘Yo, man, pick up the phone and call me.’ He’s like, ‘No, mofo.’
The reference is likely Game 7 of the Lakers’ first-round series against the Phoenix Suns in 2006. Things got bad quickly for the Lakers who trailed by 17 after just one quarter and things got progressively worse. Kobe took just three shots in 19 second-half minutes, and many believed Kobe was making a point that he didn’t have enough help on his team.
Even though Kobe let Barkley have it at that moment, Barkley still finds it funny and says he and Kobe laughed at it later:
“It was awesome. We laughed about it later when we saw each other. But it was hilarious that he would not pick up the phone. He sent me at least 20 to 25 texts. It was awesome.”
Kobe has always been an outspoken person and has never had any issues letting anyone know how he feels. Likewise, Barkley has never backed down and will let his opinions be known so the two having an argument of this nature is no surprise. Thankfully the two were able to move past it later, and Bryant did get that help and brought the Lakers two more NBA Championships.