ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.— Michael Jordan will retire as soon as the NBA lockout ends, according to Charles Barkley.
“Michael is done,” Barkley said Saturday at a shootaround prior to a charity exhibition game. “Let me tell you something, you can hope and hope and hope, but Michael is gone.
“He’s not going to play anymore. He’s just waiting for the lockout to end. Everybody keeps trying to make him play, or ask if he will play if they shorten the season. But he has said from Day 1 he’s not going to play. He wants this thing to end so he can make it public.”
Barkley said he played golf with Jordan last week and discussed Jordan’s future.
Jordan has not spoken publicly about his future since early in the summer when he said he would announce his decision after the lockout. Before winning his sixth championship last season, Jordan insisted he would not play for any coach other than Phil Jackson.
Jackson left the Bulls after the season, and Tim Floyd has been hired as Chicago’s coach-in-waiting.
When pressed on his statements about Jordan, Barkley said talking to reporters is “like talking to rocks.”
“Look, he has had enough. He’s done everything. He made his last shot to win a world championship. What more do you need? That’s every player’s fantasy.
“Let the man enjoy the rest of his life. I’m more concerned about the other 399 guys.”
As for his own future, Barkley said he has been in contact with six teams he would like to play for — all of which have a shot a winning a championship.
Coming off hernia surgery and a shoulder operation, Barkley did not plan to play in the exhibition game but coached one of the teams.
He will be a free agent when — or if — the lockout ends.
“I want to stay in Houston,,” he said. “If they sign Scottie (Pippen) or (Antonio) McDyess, our team would be very good.
“The money doesn’t matter to me. The Knicks are a team I will consider. I’d love to play with Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston.”
Barkley refused to disclose the six teams he’s interested in “because it’s actually illegal that I’ve been talking to them.”