As if there was not enough anticipation for the NBA regular season, Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving added more. On the morning of Sep. 18, Irving went on the ESPN show First Take to talk about the off season and his new team.
The former Cavaliers all star point guard was asked many questions about his relationship with LeBron James, and the trade he requested. Host Stephen A. Smith asked about letting LeBron and his team know about leaving. Irving said no, then simply asked, “Why would I have to?”
Smith refuted with “If you don’t speak to somebody, they might take it personally. Do you care about that at all?” To which the indignant Irving responded:
Irving and the new-look Celtics take on the revamped Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17 on TNT. Being the first game of the regular season, there already was plenty of anticipation for the season to start. Now, with Irving on the Celtics facing James for the first time, the anticipation has peaked.
This is undoubtedly a publicity stunt by Irving. He is no stranger to the attention grabbing headlines, as in February he shared his “belief” that the Earth is flat, which was later revealed to be all for headlines.
“I think that there’s just so much, I guess — I don’t know if you can even call it news — there are so many real things going on,” Irving said. “…You know, I know the science, I know everything possible — not everything possible — but the fact that that actually could be real news, that people are actually asking me that — It’s a social phenomenon.”
Is the relationship between Irving and James somewhat severed? Most likely yes. But Irving going on First Take and making indignant and vague statements does not mean the two are sworn enemies. His actions only reveal the fact he knows how to work the media and gain headlines and attention. Nothing more.
The Bottom Line
If Irving’s interview got you more excited for the NBA season, there is no shame in that. The WWE is popular for the same reason: manufactured drama. To think there is any legit hatred or ill will between Irving and James, however, is incorrect.
James knows what it is like to be in a negative situation and want out. He told no one in Cleveland of his decision to join the Miami Heat in 2011. Undoubtedly he understands this is what Irving needs, and he himself may even do the same in the summer of 2018 when free agency rolls around.
Get excited for the regular season because there are many new faces in new places, and a ton of talent across the league. Do not get excited for the NBA season because Irving gave a sub par interview on First Take.