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Charles Barkley rips Kyrie Irving over LeBron James apology: 'I would have whooped his ass'

Irving said it took a ‘real man’ to make the call and apologise.

Boston Celtics point guard, Kyrie Irving.
Boston Celtics point guard, Kyrie Irving.

KYRIE IRVING MADE headlines on Thursday when he revealed to the media that he called LeBron James to apologize for how he acted when they were team-mates with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But while many fans and people in the media looked at the comments as the maturation of Irving and reminisced about what might have been with the Cavs, some in the NBA had a big problem with the comments.

The top critic was Charles Barkley, who said Irving had thrown his team-mates under the bus. Ernie Johnson asked Barkley if the comments were at least, in part, Irving growing up.

“No, because like Shaq said, he says, ‘When I called LeBron, I said, “I want to apologize because I used to be a young guy like these young guys and I wanted everything handed to me,”‘” Barkley said.

“So, he threw the guys under the bus.”

Barkley continued, noting that the Celtics are one game away from the NBA Finals without Irving and he was supposed to be the one to put them over the top.

Barkley then said if he had been blamed for the team’s poor performance, he would have “whooped his ass”.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving and LeBron James during their time as team-mates at the Cleveland Cavaliers. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“We made it to the conference finals without you,” Barkley said as the voice of a young Celtics team-mate.

“‘Your job is to get us past the conference finals. We were in Game 7 of the [conference] finals last year. And you are our highest-paid player. You’re our quote-unquote superstar. You’ve won a championship before. And your thing is, “Well, the reason we’re not winning now is because these guys are too young and they don’t know how to win.”‘

“Boy, are you kidding me? I would have whooped his ass. I would have whooped his ass.”

Irving made his comments on Wednesday evening, saying he apologized to LeBron for wanting to be the leader and for being “that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips”.

Irving also added that it takes a “real man” to make the call.

“It takes a real man to go back, call somebody and be like, ‘Hey, man, I was young. I made some mistakes,’” he said.

“‘I wasn’t seeing the big picture like you were. I didn’t have the end of the season in mind.’”

Kenny Smith agreed with Barkley, but took a less aggressive approach, saying that Irving should have kept the conversation private, and that he “didn’t have to give us that conversation, to the media”.

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