Kyrie Irving held a media blackout on Friday, perhaps further straining the relationship he has with the NBA media. The Brooklyn Nets point guard skipped media day and issued a statement outlining his intentions for the next season.
Kyrie Irving and his history with the media
As NBA players look to improve their brand’s visibility by being best buddies with the media, Irving has chosen to refrain from such closeness.
He has been known to have different assumptions about the world and the media has feasted on every controversial word. Whether he is simply misunderstood or someone who should be questioned, Kyrie Irving has become a media darling in a negative way.
Here are 5 instances when Kyrie Irving and the media did not see eye to eye:
5. Kyrie Irving “overheard” telling Kevin Durant about max contracts in New York
During All-Star Weekend 2019, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were seen supposedly talking about the possibility of joining the New York Knicks.
Though their conversation was inaudible, the media concluded that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were discussing about two max contracts that the New York Knicks could offer to top-tier players in the 2019 offseason.
Irving blasted the media later for sensationalizing their conversation. Here is what Kyrie told the reporters when asked about his conversation with Kevin Durant.
“This is the stuff that just doesn’t make the league fun. Like, it doesn’t make the league fun. Nobody helps promote the league even more by doing bullshit like that, or just fictitious putting this on what we’re talking about. It’s just, it’s crazy. I guess that’s what you wanted, huh?”
In the end, after all the criticism media faced for jumping on the gun too quickly, Kryie Irving and Kevin Durant did come together but not for the New York Knicks rather the Brooklyn Nets.
4. Kyrie Irving thinks LeBron James isn’t clutch
Early this year on Kevin Durant's podcast, Kyrie Irving took the opportunity to profusely complement his new teamamte. When he was lambasted by the media for indirectly criticizing LeBron James’ crunch time abilities, Irving said this:
“Come one 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. You talk openly. You talk freely. But, because we live in a clickbait society it becomes something bigger.”
Former teammate Richard Jefferson, who is now a member of the media, had this to say during an episode of ESPN’s The Jump:
“The issue with this is, you went on Kevin Durant’s podcast, and you were saying these things. So we in the media are not creating the clickbait. You and Kevin Durant are creating the clickbait.”
3. Kyrie Irving calls sports and entertainment as “ignorant and obtrusive”
Boston Celtics fans ridiculed Kyrie Irving during a game last season. However, the feud unnecessarily exploded to include the media when Irving posted a rant piece on Instagram.
Irving made it a sports and entertainment issue, but it somehow felt like he was taking a shot at the media who are part of the entertainment business.
“It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive. It’s one big SHOW that means very little in the real world.”
Afterward, Jay King of The Athletic wrote some unflattering words about Irving’s moods and it merely added fuel to the fire.
2. Kyrie Irving supports social change not NBA Bubble
Prior to the NBA’s play resumption in Orlando, Kyrie Irving declared that he wanted social reforms to continue rather than the league restarting.
“I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls***. Something smells a little fishy.”
That’s when Irving received not-so-flattering remarks from the media as summarized by Fansided’s Maiyo Shahrawan:
“...what is not OK is berating Kyrie Irving for allowing (less powerful) players to have their voices heard and considered because you selfishly want to see the NBA return.”
Irving ultimately let the players decide but the portrayal he received from the media further illustrated the growing gap between them.
1. Kyrie Irving’s 2020-21 Media Blackout
The latest developments surrounding Kyrie Irving might further strain his relationship with the NBA media. After dealing with multiple issues, Kyrie Irving decision to skip media interactions for the whole of 2020-21 season will undoubtedly further damage the relationship.
The 2020-21 season is supposedly Kyrie Irving’s comeback year as he and Kevin Durant try to bounce back from their respective injuries. Could his recent media silence make him a better player and a better teammate?
It remains to be seen.