Charles Barkley is annoyed with Kyrie Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated – but especially one specific aspect of it.
Barkley — during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” tip-off show Tuesday — took issue with the fact that the Nets star will still earn millions this season, despite not playing due to his unvaccinated status under New York’s COVID-19 mandate.
“The only thing that bugs me is he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home,” Barkley said.
“I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down — for saying ‘no, we’re not going to deal with this half on, half off [situation],’” the Hall of Famer said about Brooklyn’s decision to ban Irving from the team until he complies with the state’s vaccine mandate.
Irving will not be paid for games missed in New York — 41 at Barclays Center and two at Madison Square Garden — due to New York’s COVID-19 mandate.
The All-Start guard will, however, be paid for away games, as it is the Nets’ decision to sideline him.
Irving will still be paid $19 million, according to Netswire.
Barkley went on to quote NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who appeared on “Inside the NBA” earlier in the show to discuss the situation with Irving.
“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people. I got vaccinated, I can’t wait to get the booster,” Barkley admitted. “You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam [Silver] said, you get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second. That’s what bothers me about this whole thing.”
Barkley also dismissed the public comparisons between Irving and Muhammad Ali. The late boxing legend put his fight career on hold to not fight in the Vietnam War, and instead protest racism at home.
“People are saying he’s like Ali. First of all, don’t ever compare anyone to Ali. Ali went three years without boxing when he was the highest-paid athlete in the world,” Barkley said, reiterating that Kyrie “is going to make $17 million for sitting at home.”
The Irving-less Nets lost their season-opener Tuesday against the Bucks, 127-104. Brooklyn visits Philadelphia on Friday.