Before I start, I am going to extremely hypocritical. Not often do I hate on players like this. Everyone has a different play style and a different personality so it isn’t right for one of them to receive hate on the way they act. It’s okay not be the biggest fan of a certain player, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to talk about how much you hate them on social media.
Interestingly enough, I’m going to do it anyway. Ever since his first championship in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving has been seriously pissing me off. While I know it’s just my opinion and clearly irrational, I’m going to share with you some of Kyrie’s antics and some things that he has no control over that get under my skin.
1. The way he has gone about his upcoming free agency
Perhaps the most obvious reason to hate on Kyrie is the way he has gone about his upcoming free agency. I’ve never had an issue with “disloyalty” from NBA players. After all, if you don’t put yourself in the best situation to succeed no matter what the occupation, you’re missing an opportunity. While I think Kyrie leaving to play for the Lakers or Knicks could be really entertaining, the way he has treated the Celtics organization should be a huge red flag.
On October 4th of last year, Kyrie Irving said that “if [Celtics’ fans] will have me back, I plan on resigning here.” It was an unexpected and interesting thing for Kyrie to do following a surgery that benched him throughout the Celtics’ playoff run the season before. Kyrie hadn’t played a full season with Gordon Hayward either, so no one knew how this team would play together.
Unfortunately, this group hasn’t gelled the way we had expected them to. Currently, the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, Kyrie Irving appears to be open to exploring his options in free agency again. In early February, Irving told reporters that he “I’ve spent the last 8 years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms of making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, and I don’t owe anybody shit.”
It’s not the notion of disloyalty; it’s the untruthfulness from Kyrie that drives me crazy. He didn’t owe Boston anything until he literally promised to resign with them. I get that everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes players should be held accountable by the media for these mistakes.
Whether it be locking into a “playoff mode” early or publicly putting your entire team on the trade block, Lebron James gets away with a lot of questionable quotes. In his time in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving learned a lot from Lebron. That is apparent. Prior to Lebron’s arrival, the Cavaliers’ best season with Kyrie Irving finished with a 33-49 record. Now that Kyrie is riding solo once again, he finished last season with a 55-27. The improvement is huge, but Kyrie Irving is not and will not ever become Lebron James.
Because of this, Kyrie Irving is not “good enough” to make the same types of outlandish remarks as Lebron does. Lebron James is capable of carrying an entire franchise, so if he wants to call out young players on his team for not performing to his standards, he wouldn’t be questioned. Because Kyrie went through that exact thing playing alongside the King, he believes he has earned the right to criticize younger players.
By all means, it’s great to keep your team motivated, but it’s clear that Kyrie Irving is coming at his team with at least some level of animosity. Following a loss in January, Kyrie was quoted as to saying “the young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team.”
Seems fair enough right? Kyrie has won the same number of championships as the rest of the roster combined (thanks a lot Aron Baynes), and he should take charge. Think about the quality of his championship though. Lebron James carried him throughout the series. Sure; he hit a couple of big shots during clutch time, but he has just as much experience leading a championship level team than the rest of the guys.
I want to see Kyrie take ownership for his own mistakes, not just drop everything on the youth of the Celtics’ roster. While Lebron has done similar things in the past, he can back up what he says. Kyrie cannot.
Unlike the first two reasons, this is completely out of Kyrie’s control. Ever since the first times the Warriors and Cavaliers matched up in the finals, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving will be compared to each other throughout the rest of their lives. Both all-star level point guards matching up in the NBA Finals for three years in a row, it’s natural for the media to debate who the better player is.
While the answer may seem obvious, people still like to consider Kyrie as a near equal to Steph. Not just analysts, but mainly arguments with my friends are the ones that get me heated. Obviously, Kyrie is elite at a couple things; his ball-handling ability might be the best the NBA has ever seen and he seems to step up well in the clutch, but just because you might be a little bit flashier doesn’t mean you’re a better player.
It’s clear to me the people that would take Kyrie over Curry are either unknowledgeable about basketball or looking for attention, but it frustrates me they’re even looked at as similar.