Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James launched a scathing attack on player-turned-pundit Charles Barkley, labelling him as a "hater".
Barkley, who represented Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets in NBA, described James as "whiny" for saying the Cavs need to improve their roster.
But James, speaking after NBA champions Cavs were beaten 104-97 by Dallas Mavericks, hit back with a tirade against the 53-year-old.
Speaking to ESPN, he said: "He's a hater. What makes what he says credible? Because he's on TV?
"I'm not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that.
"All I've done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.
"Screw Charles Barkley. I'm tired of biting my tongue. There's a new sheriff in town."
James also defended his off-court friendship with fellow NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade.
"Go watch the 1993 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot," James added. "Barkley and [Michael] Jordan were laughing and joking with each other during one of the games while somebody's shooting a free throw.
"In the Finals. But, oh, nobody was friends back then."