It was vintage Kyrie Irving, not just unconventional but not caring one whit about convention. In a statement Friday afternoon, the Nets point guard issued a statement in lieu of taking questions from Nets beat writers...
Irving did not say whether he will speak to the media before or after games this season. The last line provided some ambiguity regarding his plans for the future, stating, “Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.” However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said that Irving intends to make the boycott permanent.
Contact with the media is required of players under the standard player contract. He and the Nets can be fined if he doesn’t. The NBA does require that active players be made available to reporters as part of practices and games.
Irving’s relationship with the media has always been strained, going back to his days in Cleveland, when he said the world was flat, which he later said was a joke and apologized for. In Boston, there was similar head butting on a number of issues as the Celtics disappointed after trading for him. When he opted out of his contract at the end of the 2018-19 season, media noted how in October 2018 he had promised to stay.
Then, in just the past few months, there have been other instances of tension. He suggested writers unfairly seized on comments he made about Kevin Durant being the first teammate he can see as “the best option.” That was seen by pundits as a slap at LeBron James. Irving went on Instagram not long after and called the reading of his comments a “false narrative” created for a “clickbait society.”
In his last Tweet, from October 1, Irving criticized the media regarding the issue, saying he wasn’t going to “let it put me against anyone anymore at any point.”
October 2, 2020
Irving was also criticized, again he felt unfairly, for his comments regarding the collaborative nature of coaching, saying, “ “KD could be a head coach; I could be a head coach.”.
Earlier in the summer, there was controversy over his reported comments on social justice and the “bubble.” Media reports indicated he had advocated for a boycott of the “bubble,” while others including his teammate and fellow union vice-president Garrett Temple suggested it was all part of a debate among players over how they should protest the killing of George Floyd and other black men and women by police.
Today’s statement came as the Nets and other NBA teams conducted “Media Week,” remote interviews with players from training facilities. Already this week. reporters including those from NetsDaily have spoken with Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Jeff Green and Tyler Johnson.
‘Media Week’ replaced the annual Media Day, where every player speaks to reporters on one day at team training facilities. Due to the pandemic, that was replaced by “Media Week.”
There’s no word yet from the Nets, the NBA or the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
- Nets star Irving doesn’t talk to media - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving skips NBA media week, says he plans to ‘let my work on and off the court speak for itself’ - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie Irving issues statement rather than meeting with reporters from Nets camp - Alex Smith - SNY
- Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving releases statement instead of speaking to media - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- No NBA Media Week for Kyrie Irving, wants his ‘work on and off the court speak for itself’ - Nick Friar - USA Today