Suns’ Kevin Durant Responds to Charles Barkley Questioning His Leadership

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Throughout his 17-year NBA career, Kevin Durant has likely heard any and all forms of criticism. So when TNT analyst and former player Charles Barkley questioned Durant’s leadership ability during his truTV coverage of the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, it wasn’t much of a surprise. And apparently, the Phoenix Suns star felt the same way.

Barkley called Durant a “follower” while stating that Phoenix needs Devin Booker as the team’s leader. When word got back to Durant about Barkley’s comments, the 35-year-old largely brushed it off, stating the broadcast crew needed “something to fill a segment up.”

“I just feel like a lot of people on TV that don’t ever come to the gym, don’t ever come to games, it’s hard for them to speak on what I do when they’re not in here,” Durant told The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin. “It’s just part of TV. They needed something to fill a segment up. So they talk about some negative s---, but if you’re not in the gym, I don’t respect your opinion if you’re not in the gym with me. That’s just what it is.”

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant shrugs.

Kevin Durant weighed in on criticism of his leadership skills from Charles Barkley.

It’s a fair assessment from Durant, who spoke recently on the latest Boardroom Cover Story about why many people in the media don’t view him as a leader.

“I’m not as charismatic as my peers. I don’t have a personality that’s fit for TV like my peers,” Durant explained. “… 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 want people to call me a leader, but I also don’t want people to say I’m not one either.”

Whether or not Durant’s leadership is an issue, Phoenix has turned a corner of late, largely behind his strong play. They’re 33–22 and the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. The Suns have won five of six games and 14 of 18 heading into the NBA All-Star break.

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