NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Photo: Reuters/Jake Crandall
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is feeling pressure off the court as some of basketball’s key influencers lined up to condemn him as an “idiot” for promoting a documentary about the slave trade regarded as antisemitic.
Speaking on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show, NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley turned an unforgiving eye on both Irving and the Nets, who are in crisis following the firing of coach Steve Nash on Monday.
“When you’re somebody as great at basketball as (Irving), people are going to listen to what you say,” Barkley commented. “I blame the NBA, he should have been suspended.”
Barkley argued that NBA commissioner Adam Silver should have taken decisive punitive action against Irving.
“I think Adam should have suspended him,” he asserted. “First of all, Adam is Jewish — you can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion. You gonna insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ‘You can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion.’ I think the NBA, they made a mistake. We’ve suspended people and fined people who have made homophobic slurs. And that was the right thing to do. If you insult the Black community, you should be suspended or fined heavily.”
Irving came in for strong criticism last weekend when he tweeted a link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a 2018 film described by Rolling Stone as “stuffed with antisemitic tropes.” Among those who condemned the shooting guard was Nets owner Joe Tsai, but Irving remained unmoved.