Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 5/3/12
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With the amount of popping off at the mouth Charles Barkley makes a living off of, we typically get the impression that he doesn’t like anyone. Either that, or he knows he is getting paid to make outlandish statements and act like a dink so he’s just fulfilling his duties. Whatever the case may be, it is surprising to hear a blowhard like Barkley defend the NBA’s most popular villain. Believe it or not, Charles is a big LeBron James supporter.

“I think he made a mistake,” Barkley said during an interview with CBS Sports. “You know he came out a lot this year and apologized for the way he left Cleveland, not telling the Cavaliers in advance, that Decision thing, where he came out ‘we’re not gonna win 1,2,3,4,6,7 championships” and I think that’s the reason people got turned on LeBron. He’s the best player in the NBA but he’s also a really nice guy. That’s why it caught a lot of us off-guard, because he’s a great guy.

“I think that behavior kind of caught myself and everybody else off guard. We were all just so turned off by that whole scenario. He came out and (apologized) this year but I think if he had done it last year all that animosity wouldn’t have been there.”

Barkley also said that other than “The Decision” and the crazy introduction party the Heat threw when they assembled their Big Three, he doesn’t think anyone has had anything bad to say about LeBron. That seems like a bit of an exaggeration. People certainly hate LeBron more because of the way he left Cleveland, but he had plenty of haters while he was with the Cavs and was seen as an arrogant person by many people.

What we do know is that LeBron seems tired of being the bad guy. Gestures like this one show us that he is at least trying to change his image, which you have to commend him for. Compared to years past, this seems to be a relatively quiet year for the King James haters. If the Heat wind up winning a championship, he may come close to silencing the critics — for a few hours at least.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

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