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#pounditMonday, December 5, 2022

Charles Barkley critical of ‘bus rider’ Kevin Durant

Charles Barkley holds a microphone

November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley is still not a fan of Kevin Durant deciding to join the Golden State Warriors. Even beyond that, the championships Durant won as a result are clearly not enough to make Durant’s legacy in Barkley’s eyes.

Barkley took aim at Durant on “Inside the NBA” Sunday, arguing that every team Durant has led has fallen short of a championship. The comments were made while discussing the fact that Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are down 3-0 to the Boston Celtics in their first round series.

“I don’t want to badmouth the dude, but you guys are always talking about that championship stuff,” Barkley said. “I tried to tell y’all, all these bus riders, they don’t mean nothing to me. If you ain’t driving the bus, don’t walk around telling me you a champion. All these guys walking around with these championship rings, hey, y’all bus riders. When you’re the bus driver and you’ve got all that pressure when you have to play well or you’re going to get the blame, that’s a different animal.”

Colleague Kenny Smith tried to defend Durant, but Barkley would not have it. He even doubled down by saying Durant was a “bus rider” who was not the best player on the Warriors’ championship teams.

The funny thing about this quote is that Barkley was singing a different tune while Durant was still with the Warriors. In fact, he even cited Durant as the reason the Warriors were “unbeatable” back in 2019. Obviously, he saw Durant as vital to the Warriors’ title chances then.

Barkley is a longtime critic of super-teams, and has not hidden his disdain for the Nets in the past. Seeing Durant struggling in a series where his team is down 3-0 to Boston is an opportunity for him to drive home that argument while simultaneously questioning whether Durant can really carry a championship team. That doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny.

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