Kevin Durant Fires Back at Suns Legend Charles Barkley

Kevin Durant

Getty Kevin Durant

During the 2024 NBA All-Star Game’s broadcast, Phoenix Suns legend Charles Barkley had some tough words for Kevin Durant. Barkley said that despite Durant’s talent, he’s not a leader, explaining that Devin Booker must step up.

“No disrespect to Kevin. Kevin’s a follower. He’s not a leader. He’s proven that on all his stops,” Barkley said on truTV’s alternate broadcast via New York Basketball’s X account. “[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… 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.”

Kevin Durant responded directly to Barkley’s comments, explaining that people don’t know what he’s like behind the scenes.

“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 in an interview with Boardroom, per its YouTube Channel.

Durant subtly fired back at Barkley while disagreeing with his statement about his leadership skills.

“I’m not as charismatic as my peers. I don’t have a personality that’s fit for TV like my peers. 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.”

Frank Vogel Defends Kevin Durant After Barkley’s Comments

Suns head coach Frank Vogel defended Durant following Barkley’s comments. Vogel stated that Durant is a leader and explained his approach to leadership.

“He definitely leads by example, but he also speaks up when he needs to,” Vogel said in an interview with “Bickley & Marotta” on February 21, per Arizona Sports’ YouTube Channel. “Not every player is going to be a rah-rah type. Every player leads in their own way. You have to lead within your personality. I learned that, as a coach a long time ago, that I can’t come in and try to be Rick Pitino, as much as he inspired me to get into coaching. Our personalities are different.”

Vogel has coached some excellent teams as a coach before the Suns hired him. He won a title with the Lakers in 2020 and helped the Pacers reach the Eastern Conference Finals for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014.

Kevin Durant Thoughts His Career Was Over in 2019

Typically, when a player tears an Achilles, they are never the same. Kevin Durant has been the exception, as he still plays at a high level despite tearing his Achilles in 2019.

However, despite Durant’s miraculous recovery, he thought the injury suffered marked the end of his NBA career.

“It’s 20,000 people in there, and I heard a pop,” Durant said in the Boardroom interview. “So I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and my whole basketball career flashed before my eyes. Everything, everything I did, everything that I thought about.

“All my favorite moments, all my bad moments, it flashed, and that’s why, if you watch, I’m just sitting there gazing into the crowd before somebody came over to help me up because I’m just like, ‘This s— is over with.'”

Whether Kevin Durant is a leader or not, there’s no denying his work ethic.