Charles Barkley says Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving aren’t ‘tough enough’ to play in New York
Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant and Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving are both headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, and there has been some swirling speculation that one – or both – of the superstar players could end up signing with the New York Knicks, who will be in action on Tuesday night when they face the Pacers (7 p.m. ET — Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass add-on).
However, NBA legend and current TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley doesn’t think that New York would be a good fit for either Durant or Irving due to what he perceives as a lack of mental toughness.
“You ain’t tough enough to play in New York,” Barkley said when asked of the advice he would give to Durant about potentially signing with the Knicks over the offseason, via Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think Durant or Kyrie are tough enough to play in New York. Kyrie’s a very good player. Kevin’s a great, great player. But I’m not sure they have the mental make up to play in New York. Those guys are complaining about the media asking questions. Maybe New York isn’t for them.”
Both Durant and Irving have been very vocal about their frustration with the media – and what they view as excessive coverage of their lives outside of basketball – this season, and Barkley is clearly thinking that if those players are struggling with media coverage now, they won’t be able to handle New York, which is notorious for having one of the most frenzied media markets in the world.
Barkley also recently referred to Irving as “one of the most miserable people” he’s ever seen.
“Kyrie Irving, I don’t know him that well, he seems like a good kid, but I’ve never seen a person so miserable,” Barkley said on an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, via USA Today. “To have so much success, to have the world in the palm of his hand – he’s going to make $40-50 million dollars for the next ten years. He’s already won a world championship. He’s in movies. But he’s got to be one of the most miserable people I’ve ever seen.
“He wanted to go to Boston because he wanted to have his own team, and what a lot of these guys don’t understand is… when you’re a star, and I’ve been a star, you get all the credit, but you get all the blame. That ain’t right, that ain’t fair, that’s just how it is.”
We don’t know whether or not Barkley is correct regarding their inability to handle the New York media at this point in time, as neither Durant or Irving has played in New York outside of instances where they were part of the visiting team’s roster, but he is certainly entitled to his opinion and we know by now that he is not scared to share it at any time.