As expected, Charles Barkley kept it all the way real about Kyrie Irving.
The NBA is officially back, which also means the return of TNT’s Inside The NBA. It was no surprise the COVID-19 vaccines and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated became a topic of discussion during the telecast.
Irving’s hesitancy led to the Brooklyn Nets benching him. Irving’s absence was evident in the team’s opening night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the defending NBA champions. When lead host Ernie Johnson brought up the Kyrie Irving drama, Barkley, a staunch proponent of vaccinations, did not bite his tongue.
Barkley applauded the Brooklyn Nets for putting their “foot down” not allowing him to play and called out the contrarian NBA superstar admitting that fact he is getting paid millions to sit home is bothering him.
“I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down,” Barkley said. “For saying no, we’re not going to deal with this half on, half off (situation). The only thing that bugs me is he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home.”
Last week, Nets GM, Sean Marks, announced Irving would not participate in team activities or play games until he becomes eligible. New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate states that Irving has to get at least one shot of the vaccines if he wants to suit up and set foot on Barclay’s Arena court.
Irving double-downed on his “personal choice” reasoning with a word salad of an explanation during an Instagram Live session after the Nets announced they were going to bench him.
“This is about my life and what I am choosing to do,” Irving stated regarding his decision to not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that,” Irving said. “But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice.”
Barkley also ripped that argument to shreds, basically calling it selfish.
“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people,” he said. “I got vaccinated. I can’t wait to get the booster… You get vaccinated for your family first. You get vaccinated for your teammates second. That’s what bothers me about this whole thing.”
The round mound of rebound also was not here for people comparing Irving to the late iconic boxer and activist Muhammad Ali.
“People are saying he’s like Ali. First of all, don’t ever compare anyone to Ali. Ali went three years without boxing when he was the highest-paid athlete in the world. This guy is going to make $17 million sitting at home.”
Barkley wasn’t the only person who feels Irving should get vaccinated. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also feels the All-Star point guard should get vaccinated. He shared his opinion during an interview with the Inside The NBA analysts.
“I’d tell him to get vaccinated, first and foremost for himself and his family,” Silver said. ” Next for his teammates and his community and also for the league that I know he cares so much about.”
We shall see if Barkley and Silver’s words resonated with Irving. We highly doubt it.
Here’s how Twitter is reacting to Barkley’s comments: