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Sir Charles again slams Kevin Durant ... while Shaq offers encouragement to Ben Simmons

The 2016 ESPYS - Red Carpet Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hey guys, it’s AUGUST! Give it some rest!

Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, half of the TNT crew, talked about two of the Nets, Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons, respectively, in interviews in Arizona and Australia.

No surprise, Sir Charles went after KD. But in a bit of a surprise, Shaq offered encouragement to Ben Simmons who had criticized Simmons last season.

First Barkley. Unlike many Nets fans, the Hall of Famer doesn’t think the return of KD is a good thing. And in the process, he continued the feud he has with Durant which goes back years. He spoke with an Arizona radio talk show.

“All the old guys, he get mad we say it, (but) he piggybacked on the Warriors to win his first two championships,” Barkley who retired ring-less, said Thursday of Durant, who already has two. “But if you go back and look at his career, as the best player and being the leader that all goes with that, he’s been an abject failure. Every time he’s had to be the leader and best player, he has not had success. That’s what us old guys think about him.”

Barkley then got personal, calling Durant “miserable.”

“He seems like a miserable person, man. I call him Mr. Miserable, he’s never going to be happy. Everybody’s given him everything on a silver platter. He was the man in Oklahoma City, they loved him, he owned the entire state. He bolts on them and wins back-to-back championships (with Golden State), and he’s still not happy. Then he goes to Brooklyn, they give him everything he wants and he’s still miserable.”

However, we are told Durant left Monday’s meeting in Los Angeles very happy. Meanwhile, Shaq went out of his way to praise Simmons and wish him well.

“He has a lot of potential,” O’Neal told Channel 7 in Australia. “He’s had a lot of personal problems, Ben doesn’t talk a lot, so nobody really knows what’s going on with him, but I wish him well.

“I wish he could fight through what he’s going through but I do know, to get to that next level, you have to have that mental fortitude. It’s OK to be scared. You don’t think I was scared after missing nine free throws in a row and everybody’s laughing at me? Gotta shoot it.”

“I’m sure he’s probably still stunned about what happened in the Atlanta series, and people, you know, jumping on him. Sure, could be overwhelming. But at some point, if you wanna be known as the greatest to come out of Australia, you’ve got to persevere.”

The Brooklyn Nets star did not play at all last season. He initially held out for a trade, then after he was sent to the Nets, he suffered a recurrence of a back injury that first sidelined him in 2020 and didn’t play for Brooklyn. He underwent surgery in May and is expected to be ready for training camp which begins a month from Saturday.

Shaq had previously called Simmons “soft” and “a cry baby,” which led to Simmons DM’ing his fellow LSU player to talk about things. Shaq told his Australian fans that he has been tough on Simmons because he’s a league “elder statesman.”

“I want him to succeed and I’ve been hard on him because I feel as an elder statesman it’s my job,” O’Neal explained, “I know what it takes to get to the top, top, top level and that guy knows what it takes to be great.”

Shaq also listed Simmons and Patty Mills as among Australia’s best basketball exports.

“Ben Simmons, Josh Giddey, Shane Heal — Luc Longley won multiple championships. Patty Mills is one of the greatest shooters in the NBA. Your country has represented basketball worldwide many times.”