On Wednesday, Charles Barkley told TMZ Sports that his relationship with Kenny “The Jet” Smith is still “great”, following their seemingly heated disagreement over Kyrie Irving and his decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine.  

Following their dispute live on TNT, reporters caught up with the former Suns’ great concerning him and Smith, outside of LAX. Fans had speculated that the two’s differentiating stances might have shaken up their friendship, however, Barkley quickly pushed those rumors aside.

“Oh, me and Kenny are great,” Barkley said, ” We’re great. We can be different, it’s all good.”

The two co-hosts’ stances were different, with Smith displaying empathy for Kyrie as far as his “uncomfortability” towards getting the vaccine. On TNT, Smith acknowledged that as long as Irving is aware of the repercussions of his decision, professionally and financially, there isn’t anything anyone can do to change his decision. 

Barkley strongly disagreed, with his main point being, “You don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people.”

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The former NBA MVP also reiterated his similar stance talking with TMZ reporters, saying that everyone should get vaccinated not for themselves, but for others.

“They do have the right [to not get vaccinated]. But this is not about the right for you, you’re trying to take care of other people. You do have the right to not get vaccinated, but that’s selfish, in my opinion.” 

Barkley continued, comparing it to his own life, saying, ” We’ve all got families, we’ve all got friends. For me, I would hate to get one of Kenny or Shaq’s kids sick, or Ernie’s kid. That’s why I got vaccinated.” 

At least “The Jet” and Barkley’s relationship seems to still be strong and intact, following the latest news with COVID-19 and its vaccine’s impact on the NBA. 

Check out both Barkley’s response to Smith and his brief interview with TMZ, below.


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