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#pounditThursday, February 29, 2024

Kevin Durant responds to latest critique from Charles Barkley

Kevin Durant on the sideline

Feb 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant looks on against the LA Clippers during the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley believes Kevin Durant needs to win a championship with the Phoenix Suns in order to be considered one of the greatest players in history, but the two-time NBA Finals MVP insists he does not care what Chuck thinks.

Barkley has maintained for a long time that Durant will not truly cement his legacy unless he wins an NBA title as the clear-cut best player and leader of his team. The Hall of Famer reiterated that stance during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” earlier this week.

“Kevin gets mad at me when I point this out,” Barkley said. “If you go back and look at LeBron (James), who I really admire and respect, he said this. I did not say this. (He said), ‘I had to win a championship without Dwyane Wade to get old heads’ respect.’ Kobe Bryant said this, too. He said, ‘I have to win a championship without Shaq to get these old heads off my back.’ I hold Kevin Durant to the same criteria. I don’t care what the media says. I don’t care what the fans say.

“He’s an all-time great. But when it comes to being mentioned with some of these other guys, he’s gonna have to win a championship where he’s the leader of the team and he’s the best player.”

As he almost always does, Durant felt the need to respond. He told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports on Thursday that old-school NBA players like Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal hold him to an unfair standard.

“Because at this point, they’re saying, go play with Scoot Henderson and win a championship and then we’ll give you credit,” Durant said. “I don’t need no credit from y’all, no credit from (Barkley), no credit from Shaq. Y’all don’t ever have to watch me play ever again, don’t talk about me if you don’t (rock) with me. I’m not gonna stop doing what I do. Everybody has their opinions, man. It’s not gonna stop me and how I approach the game.”

For those who are wondering, Henderson is a 19-year-old who plays in the NBA G League.

Durant then downplayed any talk of him needing to be the leader of a team. He said he will leave that to Suns head coach Monty Williams.

“As far as leading a team, I don’t need to coach no team,” Durant added. “Whatever happens, we do it together. (Monty’s) the leader, he’s the coach. The GM puts the team together. I’m supposed to go out and hoop. That’s my job.”

Though he claims he does not feel he has to prove anything to Barkley or any other NBA legend, Durant has never been able to sit quietly while being criticized. Barkley infamously labeled Durant a “bus rider” during the playoffs a while back, and Durant could not let that go, either.

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