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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Charles Barkley not buying Kyrie Irving’s leadership comments

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is not feeling Kyrie Irving’s comments about leadership.

Irving called out his team after a loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, saying the young players don’t understand what is needed to win a championship. Some of his teammates took offense to the comment, while Irving later said he should have kept things in-house.

Then Irving topped it all off by saying he called LeBron James to apologize for not understanding what the star was going through when trying to lead the Cavaliers. While we said that showed his character growth, others see the other side — that Irving is calling out the young players.

That’s how Barkley interpreted the situation when he spoke on “Inside the NBA” on TNT Thursday:

“I didn’t like it at all,” Barkley said. “It seemed like he was saying, ‘We’re losing because of these guys. They’re young, they don’t know how to win.’ They made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year without him. You don’t have to tell people you’re a leader — just be a leader.

“(Irving) played great last night. That’s one of the few games I’ve seen where he really made a conscious effort to make everyone around him better. But 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 didn’t like it at all.”

Barkley makes a good point: This Celtics team pushed the Cavs to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, all without Irving or Gordon Hayward on the court. Who is Irving to talk?

On the other side, Irving is probably the most talented player on the team and has championship experience. He’s trying to push his players to get on that championship level, and calling teammates out won’t always be received well, even if it’s necessary.

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