Nick Kyrgios has fired back at NBL icon Steve Carfino after he accused the Aussie tennis star of showing a “lack of sportsmanship” in the Celebrity All Star game and called him a “jerk”.
Kyrgios ran riot in the charity game that was organised by the Sydney Kings to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation and contested between teams captained by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and 2GB radio host Ben Fordham.
A basketball tragic, Kyrgios was clearly out to show off his hoops skills, at one point swatting Perrottet and driving to the basket on many occasions to rack up plenty of points.
It impressed many – but not all – with Carfino, who was the coach of the opposite team scolding the 26-year-old’s on-court antics while appearing on Fox Sports’ ‘The Back Page’.
“What a jerk. Oh my goodness,” the NBL great said.
“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.”
Initially the rest of the Back Page panel thought Carfino was joking but when asked to clarify his comments, the American doubled down on his criticism, claiming Kyrgios took it too far.
“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.”
Carfino’s comments were posted on Fox Sports’ Instagram page and it didn’t take Kyrgios long to hit back.
“Maybe if you showed less sportsmanship your nba career would of lasted longer (laugh emoji),” the Canberran said in the comments.
“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?”
Kyrgios is back in Australia to spend time with family and friends before he returns to the court after the French Open.
He has enjoyed a resurgent summer following the Australian Open, reaching the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells back in March before losing in the semi-final of the Houston Open to Reilly Opelka in earlier this month.