Charles Barkley is sick of Kyrie Irving’s antics. The NBA analyst ripped into the Nets point guard during ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show on Thursday.
Irving recently issued a statement saying that he would let his play “speak for itself” this season. That led many to believe he was boycotting the media, but that quickly ended after he was hit with multiple fines by the NBA.
It was yet another episode with Irving, who has often stirred things up publicly. And that, my friends, is why Barkley has had enough.
During his appearance on Thursday, Barkley went after Irving — hard.
“They don’t pay you $40 million just to play basketball. Part of it is sitting down with you guys, sitting down with me and Kenny [Smith] and Ernie [Johnson] and [Shaquille O’Neal], talking to New York reporters. Being with the media is part of your professional obligation, and you can say what you want to say. But these guys today, they’re different. I don’t hate on them, but I’m not sure what point Kyrie is trying to make.”
Was Barkley done? Absolutely not. In fact, the TNT host was just getting started.
“When he talks, I’m like, ‘What is he saying and what is he trying to say?’ He starts talking about what an artist is. He’s a basketball player. That’s what he is. Listen, we’re not frontline responders. We’re not teachers. Yo man, you dribble a basketball, stop acting like you’re the smartest person in the world.
Now can you talk about social issues and things like that? Of course. But some of this other stuff I’m like ‘Yo, man, you do realize you’re just a basketball player, right?’ And it seems like he’s like, ‘No, I want you guys to know I’m the smartest guy in the room.’ Well, first of all, you’re not. You only went to college for six months. A lot of guys are smarter than you are. Just answer stupid basketball questions. And if you want to say something about social justice, say it and mean it, because it’s important and significant. But all that other stuff? Like, yo, man, shut the hell up and talk basketball.”
Well, that escalated quickly. Barkley even hit him with the “you only went to college for six months” line. That was the knockout punch.
He isn’t wrong either. Irving has certainly taken on a kind of god complex, constantly trying to go after something or someone. It’s become exhausting.
And like Barkley, a lot of people out there — whether you’re a fan of the NBA or not — are absolutely sick of it. Good for Sir Charles.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.