LeBron James has heard enough criticism from Charles Barkley and spoke out against the Hall of Famer and longtime TNT commentator.
"He's a hater," James told said. "What makes what he says credible? Because he's on TV?"
"Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above," Barkley said of James last week. "The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He's the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don't want to compete? He is an amazing player. They're the defending champs."
James initially took the high road when asked about Barkley's recent comments, saying they were "good for the ratings," while defending his competitive spirit.
After ESPN followed up with a story asking Tristan Thompson for his thoughts on Barkley's comments, James chose to speak out again in ardent fashion.
"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."
James' friendships with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have been called into question, but he pointed out how Barkley remained friendly with Michael Jordan even during the Finals.
"Go watch the '93 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot," James said. "Barkley and Jordan were laughing and joking with each other during one of the games while somebody's shooting a free throw. In the Finals. But, oh, nobody were friends back then."
James also seemed to suggest Barkley continues to remain on TV for strictly financial reasons.
"I know he wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can't," James said. "He's stuck up on that stage every week."
James then issued a challenge, of sorts.
"And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule's out there," James 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."
James also talked about the perception that he's running the Cavaliers.
"I collect one paycheck from this," James said of his role with the Cavs. "There's the owner, Griff's [David Griffin] the GM, I'm the player. Screw Charles Barkley."
James put on his baseball cap and offered a parting thought as he prepared to leave the visitors locker room at the American Airlines Center to head to the airport for a flight back to Cleveland.
"I'm tired of biting my tongue," James said. "There's a new sheriff in town."