Even after finishing the game with 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists, James wasn’t done.
In a post game interview, James stood up for Wade against comments made by TNT analyst and NBA Hall of Fame great Charles Barkley regarding the recent slide in Wade’s play by telling him to “shut up.”
This is only the latest chapter in the antagonistic relationship between the Heat and Barkley.
The animosity began right after the Heat formed their ‘Big 3’ of James, Wade and Chris Bosh in the Summer of 2010. Barkley has attacked each of the ‘Big 3’ either individually or as a group in various instances in television and radio. The sentiments were not returned by the players so much as it was by Heat fans in Miami and throughout the country.
The situation reached a boiling point during Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals when, as part of TNT’s coverage, Barkley and others did their telecast outside the AAA. In one instance, a towel was thrown at Barkley’s head from the audience of Heat fans taunting him throughout the night, almost causing an incident.
Since then, Barkley has somewhat cooled his rhetoric towards the Heat, especially after the team won the NBA championship last season. However, Wade’s play has opened a new front for him to attack. Wade’s play has improved in the games since Barkley’s comments were made.
The NBA universe now waits for Thursday to hear Barkley respond.