When former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving indicated that he called former teammate LeBron James to apologize about his past behavior, the general opinion was that it was a sign that the eighth-year guard was maturing.
In contrast, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley took time on Thursday night to criticize the move.
Barkley is a regular studio commentator on TNT’s NBA broadcasts and was asked by host Ernie Johnson to comment on Irving’s criticism of his teammates on the Boston Celtics. Barkley began by attacking the move before then (at the 30-second mark) discussing Irving’s phone call to James:
Chuck wasn't feeling Kyrie's comments about calling LeBron to apologize. pic.twitter.com/H1FELmze4t
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 18, 2019
“This notion where you, this thing like, ‘I called LeBron because he taught me how to be a leader.’ Well then be a leader. You don’t have to tell us you’re a leader. I did not like it at all because what he said to me, and I get through the B.S., Ernie, ‘Hey, we’re losing because these young guys in the locker room and I didn’t like it at all.'”
Barkley has made a career out of offering explosive comments on the air, following in the footsteps of his playing career. That approach often led to his being assessed technical fouls and paying fines for such comments.
Irving’s Celtics entered this season as the favorites to dethrone the Cavaliers as champions in the Eastern Conference. However, the team has been plagued by inconsistent play from its young and talented roster. Entering Friday night’s action, the Celtics have a 26-18 record and are 6.5 games behind Milwaukee.
Of course, the bottom dropped out of the Cavaliers’ season long ago, with James’ departure in free agency the key facet of their current 9-36 record. Their next contest will be in Utah on Friday night, the fifth of a six-game Western road trip.