NBL great Steve Carfino has blasted tennis star Nick Kyrgios for acting like “a jerk” during the league’s Celebrity All-Star game and showing a “lack of sportsmanship”.
But the Canberran has fired back, calling Carfino a “potato” in a social media sledge.
Kyrgios went hard in the charity contest, blocking NSW premier Dom Perrottet’s shot and attempting to do the same to Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thattil, while racking up buckets.
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Carfino, who was coaching one of the teams, thought Kyrgios showed a lack of tact in his antics.
“What a jerk. Oh my goodness,” he said on Fox Sports’ The Back Page.
“And what a lack of sportsmanship. He’s blocking girls’ shots, he’s not passing to his teammates.
“This is a celebrity game. There’s be funds to be raised for the Starlight Foundation. It was ridiculous.”
Kyrgios is a passionate NBA fan and spends much of his free time on the basketball court.
Responding to a Fox Sports Australia Instagram post about Carfino’s comments, he commented: “Lack of respect? You potato, have a look at my foundation and look me in my eyes and tell me what lack of respect there is for that?
“Maybe if you showed less sportsmanship your nba career would of lasted longer (laugh emoji).”
Carfino was asked to clarify his initial comments and confirmed he was being serious with his criticism.
“I just thought it was unsportsmanlike, you know? It wasn’t the right moment to show how dominant you can be against, you know, Australia’s contestant for Miss World,” he said.
“He’s trying to block her shot. He’s going hard, blocking the shot of the premier, you know, didn’t come out, refused to come out of the game.
“We had 18 players and we got everybody in. I think it was you know, for the betterment of the game. You know, that was the right thing to do.
“It was a celebrity game. Know where you’re at.”
Asked what made Kyrgios act like he did, Carfino said: “I guess white line fever. And his coach was Shane Heal, he suffers from it as well.
“Shane actually said to Nick, he was like come over here – Carfino doesn’t think you can get 20. And he looked at me like he was ready to kill me.”
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