Charles Barkley took aim at New York Knicks targets Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when he questioned their “mental makeup.”
In an interview with Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated, Barkley threw blunt claims towards the stars’ way.
“I dont think Durant or Kyrie are tough enough to play in NY. Kyrie’s a very good player. Kevin’s a great, great player. But Im not sure they have the mental make up to play in NY. Those guys are complaining about the media asking questions. Maybe NY isnt for them.”
Barkley’s comments come on the heel of Irving’s mea culpa plea earlier in the week. Irving, in an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, took responsibility and admitted that way he’s handled the media amongst other things in recent weeks hasn’t been “perfect.”
Durant, like Irving, has also been vocal and combative with the media and their coverage regarding his impending free agency. KD, earlier in the season, did not speak to reporters post-trade deadline for eight days. When Durant finally spoke, the 10-time All-Star expressed his displeasure about his teammates and coaches were asked about rumors surrounding the Knicks.
Barkley’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless of the market, Durant and Irving will always have issues with the media as long as they are relevant in the NBA. But they are certainly “tough” enough for the New York media. Both stars have been in the limelight since they were teenagers and have seen it all from a coverage standpoint.
What they should worry about is the current state of the Knicks. Of the teams with cap space for the summer of 2019, it’s hard to argue that a team with 13 wins is in a position to challenge for an NBA title. Despite promising seasons from Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson the Knicks are still searching for their identity.
In the end, the mecca of basketball and the challenge of turning around the fortunes of a franchise that last won an NBA title in the 1970s may be too much to turn down for both Durant and Irving. But if they do, I can guarantee you, it won’t be because of the big and bad (sarcasm) New York media.