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DeMarcus Cousins responds to Charles Barkley’s latest criticism

West Team's DeMarcus Cousins, of the Sacramento Kings, is introduced prior to a practice session for the NBA All-Star basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, in New York.
West Team's DeMarcus Cousins, of the Sacramento Kings, is introduced prior to a practice session for the NBA All-Star basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, in New York. AP

The verbal boxing between Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley continues.

Cousins was asked about Barkley Saturday after the Western Conference All-Stars completed practice at Madison Square Garden.

“It ain’t personal,” Cousins said. “I mean, I don’t really respect the guy, but at the same time, I don’t really care what he thinks either.”

In case you didn’t get the message, Cousins made it clear: “I don’t respect him and I don’t care what he thinks.”

Barkley took exception to reports Cousins had a say in whether the Kings would hire George Karl as head coach.

Cousins has said repeatedly he had no involvement in the decision.

“He hasn’t done enough to deserve that type of power,” Barkley said on TNT. “(The Kings) stink. Why would you give a guy that young that type of power? If you’re a Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon or somebody like that, yeah, you deserved that type of power after you have earned it. Let me just say this either way, that’s just total (garbage). That’s ridiculous.”

Cousins, again, dismissed the notion he had any part in a coaching decision. Or as he put it, “That’s Charles being Charles.”

“A lot of people don't really know the real story about it,” Cousins said. “I never really had anything to do with it in the first place.”

The Barkley-Cousins deal goes back years. Both are from Alabama, but the similarities stop there.

Barkley was critical of Cousins’ decision to leave Kentucky after one season. He was later critical of Cousins after Paul Westphal, Barkley’s former coach in Phoenix, was fired by the Kings after feuding with Cousins.

Barkley, however, did say Cousins deserved to be an All-Star this season, regardless of how he felt about him personally.

Cousins said Barkley’s words shouldn’t mean more simply because he has a platform on TNT.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s anybody of an authority,” Cousins said. “I would just say he is very comfortable on the television.”

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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