In an Instagram video aired Friday night, Kyrie Irving denied his boasting about Kevin Durant a day earlier amounted to a dis of LeBron James, calling it a “false narrative.” Irving said on Durant’s new podcast that he never had someone he trusted with a last-second shots until he teamed up with KD. Irving and James of course played together in Cleveland, going to the NBA Finals three times, winning a ring in 2016 ... on Irving’s clutch 3-pointer over Golden State’s Steph Curry.
“Why must it always be brother against brother? Why? If I’m addressing anyone, I’ll say their name,” Irving said. “Come on y’all; don’t listen to the false narratives. Let people live their lives. It’s just a game. Talk about the art, talk about the sport, we talk openly, we talk freely. But, because we live in a clickbait society, it becomes something bigger.
“You don’t have to defend it. That’s just what media is — its entertainment. I’m not going to let it put me against anybody anymore at any point, because that’s not what it’s about. We talk freely, openly and that’s our society. Say how you feel. Don’t have to put me against anyone else. It’s never been about that. It’s about the love. Peace.”
Irving also suggested that the media tried to bring down Kobe Bryant.
“Some people may describe Kob as this ‘fierce competitor, NBA All-Star, MVP, he doesn’t pass.’ Don’t forget that they even tried to crucify and smear my man Kob. Come on. Stay woke. Artist, teacher, philosopher, hooper, cultural icon.”
Several pundits, including Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter, had criticized Irving, RJ calling it a “shot” and noting that its timing, as James and his Lakers are playing in the Finals. Others noted that Irving had said he has always seen himself as the No. 1 option as a game wound down to its critical moments.
RJ continued that criticism when Irving called the controversy part of the “clickbait society.”
“The issue with this is, you went on Kevin Durant’s podcast, and you were saying these things,” said Jefferson who was teammates with both Irving and Durant in the Cavs title run. “So we in the media are not creating the clickbait. You and Kevin Durant are creating the clickbait.”
Specifically, here’s what Irving had said in the second half of KD’s podcast with him Thursday.
“One thing I’ve always been comfortable with, I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch,” Irving said on “The ETCs with Kevin Durant” podcast. “This is the first time in my career I’ve looked down and be like ‘That mother****** can make that shot too. And he’ll probably do it a lot easier.’
“It’s not so much deferring, because in past situations where I didn’t take the last shot I felt guilty. I want this game-winning shot, but also you want to trust your teammates. Not that I didn’t trust my team-mates, but I felt like I was the best option.”
Indeed, in 61 career playoff games, Irving averages 23.5 on a shooting line of 45/40/88 with 13 games of more than 30 points, including three of 40+.
Irving and Durant also created some controversy on that same podcast by suggesting the Nets coaching will be “collaborative,” in Durant’s words.
The Instagram post was viewed by a number of NBA players from LaMelo Ball to Carmelo Anthony.
The controversy continued Friday evening with Tony Kornheiser suggesting Joe Tsai may not know what he got himself into with Irving. Tsai has publicly and privately praised Irving, particularly on his social justice stance.
- Kyrie Irving denies last-shot comments were LeBron James jab - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving-Steve Nash dynamic is all wrong - Phil Mushnick - New York Post