Nick Kyrgios slammed for ‘lack of sportsmanship’ in celebrity game by NBL great Steve Carfino


American NBL great Steve Carfino has torn Nick Kyrgios to shreds in a scathing review of his ‘lack of sportsmanship’ during a celebrity basketball game to raise money for sick children. 

The tennis player went head-to-head with other famous Aussies, including NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thatti, in the Sydney King’s charity match at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday. 

But despite the event being held to support the Starlight Foundation, which provides gifts for hospitalised kids, Kyrgios – a self-professed basketball fan – was determined to show off his sporting prowess. 

NBL legend Steve Carfino (pictured) has called Nick Kyrgios a ‘jerk’ for showing a ‘lack of sportsmanship’ during a celebrity basketball game in Sydney on Sunday 

Carfino, himself a distinguished professional athlete, was appalled by the ATP world No. 77’s performance as he watched from the side lines, coaching one of the teams. 

The former basketballer said Kyrgios was hogging the ball, failing to work with teammates, and standing over other players to block their shots.

‘What a jerk. Oh my goodness,’ Carfino said on Fox Sports’ The Back Page.

‘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.’

Carfino was shocked by Kyrgios’ antics towards other competitors who were not athletes by trade, suggesting he should have ‘shown some respect’ while on court with the NSW premier. 

Rather than putting on a collaborative show for the sake of the fundraiser, Carfino believes the Australian Open men’s double winner was focused on flaunting his skills.

‘He came out there to show his worth,’ he said. 

Carfino, who was coaching one of the teams, said Kyrgios (right) was hogging the ball and towering over other competitors, including NSW Premier Dominic Perrotet (left)

Carfino, who was coaching one of the teams, said Kyrgios (right) was hogging the ball and towering over other competitors, including NSW Premier Dominic Perrotet (left)

‘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’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 ever 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.’

The ex Boston Celtics player said it seemed Kyrgios had a bout of ‘white line fever’ and ‘his coach Shane Heal 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,’ he said.

Despite unfavourable commentary, Kyrgios’ domination of the court steered his team to a steep victory, claiming the win at 37-13. 

Pictured: Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thattil warms up ahead of the Sydney Kings Starlight Celebrity Game at Qudos Bank Arena

Pictured: Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thattil warms up ahead of the Sydney Kings Starlight Celebrity Game at Qudos Bank Arena

Footage shows the six-time ATP title holder, who spends a lot of free time playing basketball and stands at 1.93m tall, racing across the court, towering over Ms Thatti, and knocking the ball away from Mr Perrottet. 

Kyrgios’ fierce show in the stadium also caught the attention of NBL legend Corey Williams, who noticed he was ‘going hard’. 

‘OMG @NickKyrgios put a series of moves on the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet in the Celebrity ASG and hit the bucket. He blocked his shot twice,’ Williams tweeted.

’16 points 2 dimes 2 blocks in 20 minutes. Even in a celebrity game he’s going hard. My man Nick ain’t no joke.’

Carfino played five seasons for the NBL between 1986 to 1991, spending the first two years with the Hobart Devils before joining the Sydney Kings. 

He was forced to retire in 1991, aged 29, due to back problems and became a television sports commentator, earning a spot on the NBL Hall of Fame in 2004.

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