After making a few controversial statements and his continuous confrontations with the media representatives, Kyrie Irving finally held a press conference this Monday. Suprinsgly Kyrie was communicative and looked reasonably interested in responding to reporters’ questions; however, that didn’t stop Charles Barkley from being very critical and honest about Kyrie’s recent behavior.
In a recent interview for ESPN Radio, Barkley said he is shocked that Irving is behaving the way he does when you consider he is getting paid so many millions of dollars.
“I’m not sure what he’s doing. I don’t like it. “You know, they don’t pay you $40 million dollars 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. Talking 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.”Charles Barkley, via ESPN Radio
Barkley has no understanding of the way Kyrie’s mind works and the things he says. There were numerous videos online of Kyrie stating his opinions on different topics. That is the main problem Barkley has with Kyrie, because he believes he is the smartest person in the world even though he is just a basketball player.
And when he talks I’m like ‘what the hell is he trying… 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… 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.Charles Barkley, via ESPN Radio
Barkley was always very vocal about the role basketball players have outside of the basketball court. Even though he believes Kyrie is doing great things with his community and social work, he should be more knowledgeable on how to handle the media and answer their questions correctly if he doesn’t want to get more fines. Barkley, who is known as a person who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, believes there are many more people who are smarter than Kyrie, so it shouldn’t be a problem for him to answer questions that the media reporters ask him.
“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 realize 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.”Charles Barkley, via ESPN Radio
Whether Kyrie changed his approach on purpose or someone from the Nets organization told him to tone it down is almost irrelevant. He has his own opinion about the media, whether positive or negative, but he is obligated to talk with them in his contract. Barkley was essentially right by saying that he is getting paid too much money to have this type of antics off the floor. Hopefully, his behavior will improve because the Nets rely on him to be one of the leaders on a team aiming for a championship.