Kyrie Skips Media Day

Making it about him again.

Jim Rome
December 11, 2020 - 1:15 pm
Kyrie Irving

USA Today


I hate to go cooler on y’all and drop a wet blanket on these here proceedings.  However, it is my job, and I’m paid to do it, so with great regret, I must announce, Kyrie Irving is at it again.

Last week, instead of attending Media Day with the Brooklyn Nets, Irving just released a statement instead: like, media day is for all you common dopes; I’m uncommon, so I’m not doing it.  But I will share a thought or two.   The first half read as follows:

COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways, so I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey.

Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly.

I appreciate the first part, where he talks about Covid and the impact that it’s had for everyone. How that has anything to do with him not attending Media Day via video conference is beyond me.

That’s like saying Covid has impacted everyone so I’m no longer brushing my teeth. Like, what? Why? What does one have to do with the other?

But in an effort to convey his message properly, here’s the second half of the statement:

“I am committed to show up to work every day, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself.

Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

And that was it. No explanation of why a global pandemic has caused him to stop speaking to the media.

By the way, I didn’t miss him at Media Day. If he didn’t show up and didn’t release a statement, I wouldn’t have noticed.

Truth be told, the less I hear from Kyrie Irving, the better. Honestly, my reaction to that statement is good, now we won’t have to hear the inane, ego-centric ramblings where he shoves teammates under the bus and rams his foot in his mouth.

Of course the league didn’t share my enthusiasm in not hearing from Kyrie at Media Day. Because, you see, Media Day is part of the job. It’s the day where you show up and talk to the media. The hint is in the name.

Players have a contractual obligation to attend. So they fined Irving 25 grand and fine the Nets 25 grand for his lack of participation. And if that was the end of it, that would’ve been fine.

But it’s Kyrie, so that can’t be the end of it. And this morning on Instagram, he had a post that I guess is a response to the fine. He opened it with a quote from Malcolm X.

“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for Justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I am a human being first and foremost, and as such, I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

And then followed with: "I pray we utilize the 'fine money' for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently. [I am] here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.

"I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more."

First off, for a guy who’s not talking, he sure is doing a helluva lot of talking.

Secondly, wow, there is a ton to unpack there. Let’s start with the fact that if you’re going to attempt to take the intellectual high ground, you better spell the word “for” correctly.

I know that spelling it “f-r-o-r” is just a typo and I truly hate it when people immediately jump into the comments or replies with a correction about spelling, but if you’re going to lecture people on right and wrong, you better be right with your writing.

Then there’s the notion of Kyrie declaring that he is “here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art.” Again, I admire the work that he has done when it comes to speaking up for those who don’t have voices, but let’s not confuse what you’ve done the last few years in this league with “art.”

Slow down there, Rembrandt. Your last few years in this league have been the furthest thing from art that I can possibly imagine. Unless it’s some kind of performance art where you play the role of horrible leader and toxic presence. If that’s the case, you’re one of the great masters.

The Boston Celtics were good before you got there and better when you left. If art is addition by subtraction, you’re Pablo Freaking Picasso.

And then there is the final line: “I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”

I’m sure that line sounded cool in your head and sounded like an awesome statement. Like I’m sure it sounded like the ultimate power move. Like a line that someone would drop in an 80s action film and the whole theater would cheer.

But when you put it out there, you come off as the most arrogant d bag ever.”  Dude, you carries yourself and speak like you’re Mike, Kobe, the hick from French lick, and Bill Russell all rolled into one. Except that none of those guys would ever say anything like that. And even if they did, it would be closer to acceptable. Because of who they were. 

The arrogance is not only jaw dropping, but you have a gross misunderstanding of how the league and the business of the NBA works. The relationship between players and the media is symbiotic. Both need each other. The NBA isn’t the NBA without the people who cover it. Just like the people who cover it wouldn’t have gigs if there was no NBA.

Talking to the media is part of the deal. Literally. It is part of the obligations that come with being an NBA player. It might not be a fun obligation, but that’s the deal. In fact, you said it yourself, you’re just here to do your job: well, talking to media is part of your job. And I’m not saying that because I’m media. No matter how awesome your job is, whatever is, there’s always a part you don’t want to do, but you have to do. You, me, and everyone: do your freaking job. 

And by the way, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there are plenty of players and coaches who are great with the media and that works to their advantage, their careers last longer because of it. Being good with the media isn’t a requirement, it’s just smart. Right or wrong, you can actually use to work for you, not against you. 

And now you’ve got this dude who tried to tell everyone the world is flat lecturing people on the business of the media? News flash, Kyrie People asking you about the asinine things you’ve said does not make them pawns.

And now I will ask some rhetorical questions - Is the media perfect? No. Do members of the media get things wrong? Yes.

Has Kyrie done important work in the community? Yes. Does Kyrie Irving have a history of staying dumb bleep? Yes. Does Kyrie like being asked about that dumb bleep and being held accountable for that dumb bleep? No.

Just so we’re clear – the most recent garbage that he was spewing, the idiotic lines about LeBron and KD, didn’t come from some ink-stained wretch, Kyrie himself said on Kevin Durant’s podcast.

If you have a beef with the “pawn” who screwed you over on that one, he’s wearing the number 7 jersey for the Nets this year, take it up with him.

The thing that is absolutely amazing about this whole situation is that the Nets should be in a great spot right now. Kevin Durant is coming back. They’ve got a fascinating coaching staff. They can throw out some incredible lineups. We should be talking about that.

But instead, Kyrie is making it about himself. Again. Because he can’t help it. This is his brand and in the area of causing bleep storms where they don’t need to be, the brand is stronger than ever.