Charles Barkley’s cure for a playoff loss? Michael Jordan picked him up in a jet for a golf trip

Charles Barkley swings a golf club.

Charles Barkley tells the story of the time Jordan picked him up for a last-minute golf trip.

As anyone who’s watched ESPN’s “The Last Dance” docuseries knows, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley’s relationship has shifted over the years.

Today, they’re hardly acquaintances. But back in the day, they were pals both on and off the court, frequently meeting up at events, for card games, and, most notably, on the golf course. While they might not be buddies anymore, we’re betting nobody has ever gone to their lengths to play a round of golf together.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz dove into Barkley’s relationship with No. 23. From putts worth $100,000 to the story of why His Airness won’t talk to Chuck, Barkley peeled back the curtain on their relationship.

Perhaps Barkley’s craziest story with Jordan began through their time on the golf course — or more specifically, Jordan’s method of organizing tee times. In Barkley’s recounting, it all began with a 3 a.m. phone call one night in the mid-1990s. Barkley’s Houston Rockets had been eliminated from the playoffs earlier that evening, and Charles could hardly sleep.

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“He says, ‘What you doing?’ I said, Nothing. Sitting here sucking. We lost last night,” Barkley remembered. “He said, ‘I’ll pick you up in four hours.’ I said, What? He said, ‘I’m coming to get you. We’re going to play some golf. The season’s over. You need to get away.’”

Just like that, Jordan was flying out to Barkley to pick him up and bring the two of them to their tee time.

“In four hours, he picked me up at the private airport right by my house on his private jet,” Barkley said.

While there’s plenty to be learned from their relationship both on and off the golf course, there’s no doubting that sometimes, it pays to be Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan. Check out the full episode below.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.