‘Kick Him in the A**’: Charles Barkley Blames Danny Ainge Along with Brad Stevens for Celtics’ Poor Season

Published 05/13/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 24: Charles Barkley attends 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)


The Boston Celtics, last year’s Eastern Conference finalists, have really struggled this season. The loss of players over the last few seasons has really weakened their team. Over the last two years, the Celtics have lost big-name free agents such as Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. And Charles Barkley knows who to blame.

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Charles Barkley criticizes Boston Celtics

NBA legend Charles Barkley spoke recently about the Boston Celtics. He noted that he holds Danny Ainge accountable for their sharp decline this past season. While Ainge is a close friend of Barkley’s, he hasn’t been able to use their treasure chest of draft picks well enough for the franchise. Barkley criticized him signing Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, noting that they didn’t do much to elevate the profile of the team.

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Feb 7, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Boston Celtics guard Carsen Edwards (4) react after a foul call during the second half as Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) looks on at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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“Danny Ainge is a good friend of mine, but he’s not done a good job with all those draft picks he had. He hasn’t done a good job because he made a mistake with Kyrie Irving, I think he made a mistake with Kemba Walker, and, um, that team is not very good at all.”

Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens on the firing line

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Barkley noted that Boston had an incredible amount of first-round picks because of their shrewd deals in the past, but they failed to capitalize on their draft picks. Therefore, the Celtics have become irrelevant in terms of title contention. He also put a lot of the blame on Brad Stevens, who hasn’t been able to get these players past the most important hurdles. While he got praise for his good work, he needs to be held accountable now for their poor form.

May 2, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) fall to the ground as head coach Brad Stevens looks on as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

“Think about it — Boston had a hundred number one draft picks and they haven’t done anything with them. Now they’re irrelevant because there’s nobody in their right mind thinking, like, Boston is even close to being a contender so, like I say, you have to blame the guys. Brad Stevens got to get some blame for it too because when they were winning we were patting him on the back. Now we got to kick him in the a**. That’s not personal, that’s just how this business works now.” (H/T Hardwood Houdini)

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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