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Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley Call Out Stephen A. Smith’s Public Criticisms Of Kyrie Irving’s Politics

kyring irving leaning forward on a basketball court
kyring irving leaning forward on a basketball court

With Kyrie Irving on the brink the second NBA Finals appearance of his career and his first since 2016 — if the Mavs can beat the Wolves one last time in the Western Conference Finals — the narrative around the controversial point guard has been largely focused on the changes Irving has made to get back to the stage.

After spending largely useless seasons in Boston and Brooklyn where he arguably spent more time creating controversy than he did on the basketball court, Kyrie Irving has seemingly turned over a new leaf, with the cast of Inside The NBA singing his praises earlier this week.

Kenny Smith, in particular, also called out ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith about how he treated Kyrie at the height of his controversy when he was engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“There’s been a constant change in the thought process about [Irving] by the mass media. As a basketball player, we’re not talking about his political and social stances and looking at him in a negative view,” Smith said ahead of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

“I’ve said it to Stephen A. — because at one time Stephen A. was an advocate about having a battle with this guy — and I had to call Stephen, I’m like, ‘this guy is from our neighborhood,'” Smith explained.

Smith says he implored Smith to realize that young men like Irving, currently 32 years old, need time to grow and change.

“I named like six people, and I said, ‘Stephen, those people mentored you mentored him, so when you say something about him you’re actually saying it about us.’ So he understand and they kind of fell back,” he continued. “As a media person, we have to understand that young men go through young things. They grow up, they appreciate things and they have a different view point then we might have had.”

Barkley, who clearly has much more respect for Stephen A. than he does his old First Take co-host Skip Bayless, also weighed in SAS’s criticism of Kyrie.

The Hall of Famer said that Irving made a mistake with some of his past behavior and has since grown up.

“Stephen A. and other people criticized him and he deserved it. You can’t go out there being antisemitic. You can do the vaccination thing, that’s your own thing. But he deserved the criticism he got. He deserved the suspension he got,” Barkley said.

“But as a basketball player, I think he’s really grown up…. We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve done plenty of stupid things, but at some point you need to grow up, and I think he’s grown up.”

Chuck, Kenny Smith, and the rest of the Inside The NBA crew will be back on the air tonight, Thursday, May 30, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.

After staving off elimination and an embarrassing sweep in Game 4, the young Wolves will be looking to increase the pressure on the Mavericks by winning Game 5 at home to force a Game 6 in Dallas.

The post Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley Call Out Stephen A. Smith’s Public Criticisms Of Kyrie Irving’s Politics appeared first on BroBible.


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