- Kyrie Irving said on Wednesday that he called LeBron James to apologize for the way he acted when they were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- While many people said the comments showed that Irving had grown up, some in the basketball world raised an eyebrow at what seemed to be Irving taking a shot at his current teammates.
- Charles Barkley did not hold back during “NBA on TNT” on Thursday, saying he would have “whooped his a–” if he were Irving’s teammate and Irving had thrown him under the bus.
- Listen to Barkley’s comments in a video at the bottom of this post.
Kyrie Irving made headlines on Wednesday when he told reporters that he called LeBron James to apologize for how he acted when they were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But while many fans and people in the media said the comments showed Irving’s maturation and reminisced about what might have been with the Cavs, some in the NBA had a big problem.
The top critic was Charles Barkley, who said on “NBA on TNT” on Thursday that Irving had thrown his teammates under the bus.
Ernie Johnson asked Barkley whether the comments were at least, in part, a sign that Irving had grown up.
“No,” Barkley said, “because – like Shaq said – he says, ‘When I called LeBron, I said, “I want to apologize because I used to be a young guy like these young guys, and I think I wanted everything handed to me.”‘ So he threw the guys under the bus.”
Barkley noted that the Boston Celtics were one game away from the NBA Finals without Irving, who he said was supposed to be the one to put them over the top. Barkley added that had he been blamed for the team’s poor performance, “I would’ve whooped his a–.”
“We made it to the conference finals without you,” Barkley said as the voice of a young Celtics teammate. “Your job is to get us past the conference finals. We were one game – we were in Game 7 in the finals last year … and you are our highest-paid player. You’re our quote-unquote superstar. You’ve won a championship before. And your thing is, ‘Well, the reason we’re not winning now is because these guys are too young and they don’t know how to win.’ Boy, are you kidding me? I would’ve whooped his a–.”
- Abbie Parr/Getty
Irving said he apologized to James for wanting to be the leader and “being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips.”
Irving added that it takes a “real man” to make the call.
“It takes a real man to go back, call somebody and be like, ‘Hey, man, I was young. I made some mistakes. I wasn’t seeing the big picture like you were. I didn’t have the end of the season in mind,'” Irving said.
Kenny Smith agreed with Barkley but took a less aggressive approach, saying Irving should have kept the conversation private and that he “didn’t have to give us that conversation, to the media.”
You can listen to Barkley’s comments here, via TNT: