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Kevin Durant and Charles Barkley go on a long bus ride

2022 NBA All-Star - State Farm All-Star Saturday Night Photo by Austin Janning/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Durant has been to the NBA Finals four times, winning the O’Brien Trophy twice, both times as the Finals MVP. He has switched teams twice, going from Oklahoma City to Golden State to Brooklyn. His preferred means of communication is social media.

Charles Barkley went to the NBA Finals once and lost. He too switched teams twice, going from Philadelphia to Phoenix to Houston. His preferred means of communication is TNT on NBA.

They either don’t like each other or make a pretty good show of it. They have a history. And they have been going at it again this week with Sir Charles once again suggesting, as have spurned Warrior fans, that KD wasn’t the “bus driver” on Golden State’s championship drives. Rather, the implication was that Steph Curry who won a ring before Durant arrived had the wheel. It’s stupid. Durant was twice MVP of the Finals.

Let’s recap...

It started after the Nets went down 3-0 to the Celtics over the weekend with this comment from Barkley. The 11-time All-Star forward referred to the 12-time All-Star forward as a “bus rider,” saying, “If you ain’t driving the bus, don’t walk around talkin’ ‘bout you a champion!”

As one might expect, KD took to social media Tuesday morning — not long after the Nets lost to the Celtics — in an only slightly cryptic manner. As Sports Illustrated noted...

On his Instagram story, Durant appeared to respond to Barkley’s “bus rider” criticism by posting a series of photos of Chuck alongside other NBA All-Stars during his playing career. The first two pictures showed Barkley standing next to the likes of fellow Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler during his stint with the Rockets at the tail end of his career.

He did not use the term “ring chaser,” but you get the point. Considering previous feuds between the two, it got attention...

KD, as is his devilish want, went further. He posted a picture of Barkley with stars like Julius Erving, Moses Malone and Maurice Cheeks from his early days with the 76ers. “Where would Chuck be without the big homies,” Durant wrote alongside the picture. Touche’.

And no, it didn’t end there. Things were set up for a Barkley response on Thursday night and WorldWideWob, aka Rob Perez, was among those who believed TNT would mount an aggressive — and no doubt petty — comeback.

Durant was not impressed...

Durant referring to himself as a god, even if tongue in cheek, got some riled up, particularly considering his less-than-divine performance in the first round sweep by the Celtics. Whatever.

So, how’d it go? Later Tuesday night, Barkley along with the rest of the TNT crew — Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson — engaged in a conversation about being the driver on a championship bus. To say it was a well-produced piece of television, even on cable, would be wrong...

They talked over each other and seemed to dismiss Kenny’s accomplishments with Shaq and Sir Charles noting that unlike them he was not the lead guy when he was with the Rockets. Maybe so, but Smith was a two-time NBA champion playing with Hakeem Olajuwon. Again, whatever.

KD provided a timely review...

Was that the last word? OF COURSE NOT!

Late Tuesday, TNT aired a well-produced video of the Nets heading off to Cancun. (The Nets seem to prefer Turks & Caicos, but that’s a story for another time.)

Early Wednesday morning, the TNT producers tried again. They staged a bus ride, trying to capitalize on the controversy.

KD has not (yet) responded, but he made it plain that he’s not leaving social media. On Monday morning, he tweeted this in response to a fan...

Indeed, the world would be a lesser place if he did. Trolling is a skill too.