Nick Kyrgios fires back at 'jerk' charity match comments as he brands former pro 'potato'

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Nick Kyrgios has fired back at an Australian basketball legend after being branded a “jerk” for his antics during a charity match. The world No 77 called Steve Carfino a “potato” in response to the American’s criticism of his sportsmanship in a celebrity basketball game held in Sydney over the weekend.

Kyrgios took part in the Sydney Kings’ charity match on Sunday to raise money for sick children, but was labelled a “jerk” by Carfino, a former basketball pro who was coaching the rival team. The retired NBL player claimed the 27-year-old showed a lack of respect as he claimed Kyrgios was hogging the ball and blocking shots from the likes of the New South Wales Premier and a former Miss Universe Australia.

“What a jerk. Oh my goodness. What a lack of sportsmanship. He’s blocking girls’ shots, he’s not passing to his teammates,” he said on Fox Sports’ The Back Page. “This is a celebrity game. There’s funds to be raised for the Starlight Foundation. It was ridiculous.” 

But the Australian Open men’s doubles champion fired back on social media, branding Carfino a “potato”. “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?” he wrote.

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Adding a laughter emoji, he continued: “Maybe if you showed less sportsmanship your NBA career would have lasted longer.” But the 59-year-old hasn’t backed off, instead doubling-down on his comments during a Nova FM appearance.

“I’ve been to a lot of charity events, whether it’s golf, or whether it’s, you know, AFL celebrity game, or whether it’s rugby league, you know, players who have skills and players that are playing at the top level, they understand where they are, they’re playing against, you know, Miss World contestant, they’re playing against people that haven’t played basketball before,” he said. 

‘So I just thought, you know what, all the tennis players in Australia, I find Nick Kyrgios the most entertaining to watch, I do think there’s a time and a place for it. If that’s what he has to tap in to get to the world class level, that’s fine I get it. But that was the wrong time in the wrong place. I just felt like his behaviour in that game, you know, wasn’t right for that moment. That’s all.”

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