Brooklyn Nets‘ Kyrie Irving has become a media hot take for the media now more than ever in his NBA career. They say any publicity is good publicity, and if this is the case, then Kyrie Irving is fortunate because the media hasn’t been exactly fond of him as of late.
Recently, Kyrie Irving was the topic of conversation in a piece written by Jackie MacMullan. Jackie MacMullan covers the Boston Celtics. Over the last two or so years, it would be a fair assumption to say she’s seen a lot of Brooklyn’s new star acquisition. She is an extremely credible source. That is obvious. But out of her lengthy piece about the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie, the excerpt that everyone seems to want to focus on is the “mood swings” aspect of it.
But why? Why focus on that sole part? I doubt that is what Jackie MacMullan wanted when she put this piece out. Well, I believe it is to contain Kyrie Irving in a box. To keep him trapped within the problematic narrative, he’s held ever since he wanted to escape from the shadow that comes with playing with Lebron James. He’s more or less been the problem child ever since, and the media seems to like it this way.
Paul Pierce is another member of the media trying to maintain this Mr. Hyde’s image of Kyrie Irving. Shortly after the Jackie MacMullan piece, the Boston Celtics legend was very critical of Kyrie Irving.
…this is the attitude that tells me you’re a front runner. Because when things are good, you hear him in the media talking about his teammates, hanging out with them, going to dinners. When things are bad and things have not started off pretty good as a team wise in Brooklyn, now all of a sudden these reports are coming back. That just sounds like a front running mentality to me.
Before I respond to this, I would like to point something out. Paul Pierce used to be known for his clutch play on the court. His nickname, “The Truth,” was given to him off such dynamic play. That is no longer the case. Paul Pierce is now known for horrendous sports takes.
Do me a favor and open up Youtube. Type in ‘Paul Pi.’ What do you see? Because when I did it to look for the clip that contained the quote above, the first suggestion was his name, but the second suggestion was ‘paul pierce saying dumb stuff.’ He also has a multitude of completion videos of his bad takes on Youtube. That, along with him being a die-hard Boston Celtics supporter, are clues that his words should be taken with a grain of salt.
But going back to his words, what does the slow start in Brooklyn have to do with something that occurred in the preseason? The alleged “mood swings” happened while the Brooklyn Nets were in China. How can does mood swings be indicative of how Kyrie Irving feels about the slow start in Brooklyn?
And even this “slow start” isn’t all that slow. It is a team that had a pretty substantial roster overhaul. Outside of maybe the Indiana Pacers game, and we were even in that game for much of it, every game has been within reach. Two of them (vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies) came down to one play. The Brooklyn Nets are roughly two plays away from being 5-2.
Another thing Paul Pierce said was, “People see these things, they’re around him every day.” I’m going to put this on the back burner, but keep this in mind.
Around the same time as the Paul Pierce clips, Chris Carter of First Things First gave his own two cents of Kyrie Irving. His addition on the Mr. Hyde narrative was that:
And I know, through talking to NBA teams, that this is the intel they had about Kyrie. Alright, a lot like Allen Iverson. He’s not gonna take care of his body. He’s not gonna spend any extra time as far as getting ready to play that night. He’s going on pure ability. But that will only carry you so long. He doesn’t take care of his body and once his body starts to fail him, what the juice taste like then?
Hot take alert. Kyrie Irving has drawn comparisons to Allen Iverson throughout his career for his ability to handle the rock in ways few can mimic. This is the first time we’ve heard him being compared to Kyrie Irving due to his work ethic. Never before, to my knowledge, has Kyrie Irving ever been seen as a player who doesn’t work hard or take care of his body. Yet we have Chris Carter telling us that NBA teams have told him this is the case with the Brooklyn Nets point guard.
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece showcasing many of the Kyrie Irving defenders of the mood swings (see here). Stephen A. Smith, Kenny Atkinson, DeAndre Jordan, as well as others have come to Kyrie Irving’s defense.
Sarah Kustok of YES Network is now in the same shoes that Jackie MacMullan was in the last few years as far as observing Kyrie Irving. She has front row seats to see the in and outs and up and downs of his NBA life. She appeared on First Things First about a week after Chris Carter spoke those words to shed the aspersions that have been placed on Kyrie Irving. When asked about all the rumors concerning Kyrie Irving and his behavior Sarah Kustok had this to say:
I’m there everyday. I’m there at practice. I sit through the open gyms. You’re there at game, you talk to the teammates. You know the players, many of them who you’ve known for many years. And there’s been no issue. And that’s not to say, we’ve all been through the course of an NBA season. The highs and lows, you’re traveling with people, you’re around people, things come up, and things happen. But to this point and I know that it stemmed from, Jackie MacMullan, who I respect more than anyone on the planet. I don’t think that was the purpose of her article and sometimes we pull one thing out of there and that’s where the mood swings had come up from. I think anytime a guy comes to a new situation and he’s still relatively young in his career, 27. A fresh slate and it’s a different group. And as Nick said it’s a different set of personalities on this Nets group which have embraced Kyrie, Kyrie has embraced them. He has got a high level of compete. He is intense and he brings a whole other level of mentality of trying to win a championship to a group. However, I think that’s something that’s been a positive for this team.
Remember that Paul Pierce quote? People see these things. Are they around him every day? Well, Sarah Kustok echoed that exact sentiment of her own experience with Kyrie Irving as she gave him a glowing review. The same thing goes for all of Kyrie Irving’s teammates as well as his coach, Kenny Atkinson. Kyrie Irving, a human first, has been nothing but Dr. Jekyll this year, and the people around him continue to paint that picture. But for whatever reason, the majority of the media seems as if they want to force him into a Mr. Hyde role. He continues to defy their attempts to box him into their narratives and might be under attack for it.