Suns’ Kevin Durant Fires Back At Charles Barkley Over Criticism

Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns, NBA News
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant has consistently expressed his frustration with always coming in second, from high school to being the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, often stating he’s “tired of being second.”

Durant’s determination to overcome this label was evident when he took the time on Tuesday to address remarks made by Charles Barkley during an alternative TruTV broadcast of the All-Star Game.

“No disrespect to Kevin. Kevin’s a follower. He’s not a leader. He’s proven that on all his stops,” Barkley said. “[Devin] Booker’s a hell of a player, also. I think he’s going to have to take the initiative and take this Suns team to the next level. … But I said the same thing with Boston: one of your guys has to step forward, he has to step forward, and for me, for Phoenix to be successful, it has to be Booker.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns Updates

In a Boardroom interview, Durant discussed Barkley’s latest critique and his perception of the league with his agent, Rich Kleiman. Durant expressed that while he doesn’t necessarily seek the leader label, he also rejects that he isn’t a leader, emphasizing the unseen efforts and relationships he builds off the court.

“I don’t feel like I want people to call me a leader, but I also don’t want people to say I’m not one either because they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes of what I talk about or my intentions or relationships that I’ve built with my teammates and my support staff,” Durant said.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns Updates

During the Boardroom interview, Durant also touched on his personality, acknowledging it might not be as engaging as some of his peers, which could lead to misunderstandings about his leadership. He stressed the importance of being genuine rather than fitting a specific mold.

“I’m not as charismatic as my peers; I don’t have a personality that’s fit for TV like my peers,” Durant said. “You’ve got to sell what you’re doing as well, and I haven’t sold it enough. I don’t feel like I need to, I don’t feel like I need people to call me a leader, but I also don’t feel like I want people to say I’m not one either.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Kevin Durant, Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns Updates

Additionally, Durant reflected on the “greatest of all time” debate, suggesting his achievements and experiences should grant him a place in discussions alongside legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, focusing on shared basketball insights rather than comparing accolades.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished things on a court and been in situations that the greatest have seen, so I feel like I can have a conversation about basketball with the Michael Jordans or the Kobe Bryant or the LeBron James, not about bragging about how much we’ve done, but what did you see out there, and did I see the same things.”

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