Charles Barkley tells Nets star Kyrie Irving to shut up and dribble
Irving had initially refused to speak with reporters at the start of camp. The NBA subsequently fined Kyrie and the Nets, resulting in Irving calling the media “pawns” in an Instagram post.
The All-Star point guard later clarified the comments, but Barkley chastised Irving on ESPN’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin” for failing to recognize engaging with media is part of the job:
“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,” Barkley said, via Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated. “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.”
Barkley also said if Irving is trying to make a point, he is doing a poor job of illustrating whatever the point is supposed to be:
“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 front line responders. We’re not teachers. Yo man, you dribble a basketball, stop acting like you’re the smartest person in the world.”
“Sir Charles” does not appear to be amused by galaxy brain Kyrie. Of course, Barkley is now a member of the media himself, and was also a media darling during his playing days given he was always good for entertainment value or a good soundbite.
Regardless, Irving seems to have made amends with the media, and will now focus on helping lead the Nets to an NBA title.