Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are watching others battle it out in the NBA Finals having been eliminated in the first round. The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics are doing great without their former superstars.
Charles Barkley believes the success of the Warriors and Celtics is hurting the legacies of Durant and Irving. In a recent with Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, Barkley shared his thoughts. He said KD and Kyrie have to win the title themselves to get the credit they deserve.
"You know it has an effect on his legacy. If you go back and look, and I talked about it on the (Inside the NBA) show. LeBron has said it before, 'I had to win a championship without Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.'
"So Kevin and Kyrie, before we elevate them among the old guys, they're not going to get the credit they deserve until they win a championship by themselves and be 'The Guy.'"
This is not the first time Charles Barkley has criticized Kevin Durant this season. When the Brooklyn Nets were getting dominated by the Celtics in the first round, Barkley fired some shots at Durant. KD won two championships as a member of the Warriors, with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Barkley explained that his criticism of the former MVP was not about being a member of the media. It's about what his peers in the basketball world think. "Chuck" added that he does not count the two rings KD won with the Warriors because he was not the "bus driver."
"This (is) 100% has to do with your peers," Barkley said. " And we're going to judge you on that and people are going to get mad. They can tweet at me and whatever they want to, but that's just the standard.
"When you jump on somebody else's boat and win, we don't count that. You got to be the driver of the boat or the bus. Simple."
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets got swept in the first round
The Brooklyn Nets were the favorites to win the championship at the start of the season. They were among the best teams in the league despite the absence of Kyrie Irving for most of the season. However, an injury to Kevin Durant led to the team's downfall in the standings.
KD, Kyrie and the Nets needed to win a play-in game to qualify for the postseason. They faced the Boston Celtics in the first round, but got swept by the eventual Eastern Conference champions. Durant was highly criticized during the series and his legacy has been questioned ever since.
KD averaged 26.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.0 steals in the first round. The numbers were very good, but he also shot the ball poorly. He shot 38.6% from the field, including 33.3% from beyond the arc. It should also be noted that it was also the first time Durant has been swept in the playoffs.