Charles Barkley invites LeBron James on TNT's 'Inside the NBA' for the playoffs

The relationship between Hall of Fame player turned Emmy Award-winning “Inside the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley and still-active legend LeBron James, as best as we can tell from their public comments, is not a great one. As such, Barkley, never one to avoid a tasty roast, reveled in the chance to rib the Los Angeles Lakers’ star.

Fresh off the news that James will be placed on a minutes restriction as the Lakers all but forfeit their 1 percent odds of making the playoffs this season, Barkley turned to the TNT camera to make a public plea to James for his postseason services.

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“Since you’re going to have some free time once the playoffs start, I’ve got a seat for you,” Barkley said, as fellow panelist Shaquille O’Neal protested, “Man, leave that man alone.” “The first weekend of the playoffs, you can stay, we’ll put you up in a good hotel, we’ll get you a first-class ticket. We always bring players in for the playoffs. You’re not going to be busy during the playoffs, so I’m inviting you here.”

This is true. Players have joined the “Inside the NBA” crew for the playoffs. Dwight Howard springs to mind. And, while Barkley has had some truly terrible takesincluding one this week, this is not one of those. James would be an incredible analyst if he provided Kobe Bryant-style “Detail” breakdowns of his current rivals.

This was not Barkley’s primary intention, though. He wanted to needle James.

LeBron James and Charles Barkley shared a set after James captured the first of his three career NBA championships. (Getty Images)
LeBron James and Charles Barkley shared a set after James captured the first of his three career NBA championships. (Getty Images)

You might remember two years ago, when Barkley twice called James “whiny” on “Inside the NBA” for pleading with the Cleveland Cavaliers to add another “f—-ing playmaker.” James clapped back, calling Barkley “a hater” and adding, “Screw Charles Barkley.” To which Barkley responded, “We’re never going to be friends.”

So, yeah, it seems unlikely James will accept Barkley’s invitation. Here’s hoping he joins Michelle Beadle and the “ESPN Countdown” crew just to spite his nemesis. LeBron could begin his analysis by pointing out that Barkley missed the playoffs three times during his career, including twice in his prime, and is routinely reminded by his fellow “Inside the NBA” panelists of his failure to ever win a championship.

Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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