Kyrie's Rep

A bad leader is still a leader.

March 05, 2019 - 11:56 am

Kyrie Irving’s reputation has been taking a beating lately. You know, because of how his team, the Celtics have been playing, and how he’s been responding to criticism. Folks are calling him out as a player and questioning his ability to be the face of the franchise and whether or not the guy is capable of leading from the front. Or if he needs someone else to do it for him.

There was the report from Kevin O’Connor that "Sources around the team told me that Irving's persona has changed, too: He's become disengaged and detached from those around the team. There is talk that Irving’s friendships on the team start and end with [Jayson] Tatum, with whom he shares an agent. Two sources peg Irving's change in demeanor to early February, around the time he was asked about the possibility of joining the New York Knicks next season."

And there is the notion from O’Connor that Kyrie has "grown increasingly frustrated with the intense media coverage of his future decision, and the state of the team."

And based on how he’s handled the media lately, that seems like a pretty safe bet. He has had some all-time horrible media appearances after losses recently. 

And as always, I want to give him a wide berth on that. I’m not going to just rush in and kill a guy for having a bad day or even two with the media. Losing games and then having to answer questions about them is part of the job, but it’s a tough part of the job. And sometimes, some guys don’t handle it well. 

I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s Kyrie Irving. Star player.  World champion. And former number one pick overall. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt. And I’m sure after he takes a step back, takes a deep breath, and meets with the media in a situation where he didn’t just lose a game, he’ll make a lot more sense.

Like yesterday, when he met with the media on the Celtics day off and addressed why he’s been kind of jerk with the media lately, “I didn’t really come into this game to be cameras in my face, be famous, be a celebrity, whatever embodies that. It’s a little hard for me. I wanted those things when I was younger, but now ... I just want to play basketball at a very high level.”

There it is. Now we know. This isn’t on him. It’s on us. We’re in his grill. And he’s not about that.  Any of that.  He’s’ about the game. And the game only. So get your cameras out his face: that’s not why he plays. Or does he play to be famous or to be a celebrity.  So just freaking leave this guy alone. It’s pretty basic. It’s pretty easy. He just wants to play basketball.  Oh

- And force his way out of a winning situation so that he could have his own team

- And wear elaborate makeup and costumes in a soda commercial

- And then turn that soda commercial into a full-blown major motion picture with a bunch of other celebrities

- And then announce that he’s going to executive produce and star in a new film about a haunted hotel in Oklahoma City

- And mix in one “look at me” interview after another along the way

So why are you putting cameras in his face now? He doesn’t want any of that! You should know that about this guy by now. 

What I’m saying is: 



Pretty rich. You are all about cameras being shoved in your face when they involved you starring in a movie based on a soda commercial that was released last year. The cameras didn’t seem to bother you any then. And you were all about interviews when they involved you working with your idol Brian Glazer on movie about a haunted hotel. But when those same cameras and mics come back when your team goes into the tank, suddenly, you’re not about the life. And never have been. And that’s not why you play the game. Really, then what are you about? Because from here, you look like a dude, who’s never happy: a dude who will force his way out of a winning situation, get his own team, spout off his asinine theories about the shape of the earth, get irritated when people ask him about his asinine theories about the shape of the earth, star in movies, be a celebrity, and then when it all hits the fan in your real job that set up all these other jobs, you just say get out of my face, I’ve never been about any of that. When all that is what you want most. 

I’ll tell you what your problem is, player: you want the rewards of celebrity without the responsibilities of it. You wants the perks and benefits of having his own team, without actually having the work that comes with having your team. He wants to lead a team, without actually leading it and being asked questions about it.

And here’s the other simple truth: the problem isn’t that he’s not leading this team, the problem is that he IS leading this team. He’s led them right where they are - from a conference finals team last year to fifth place in the east this year. 

If you are the leader and you aren’t leading, that’s still leading. A bad leader is still a leader. And that’s exactly where Kyrie and the Celtics are right now. 

But again, please respect dude’s privacy and don’t ask him questions about how badly things are going right now. He did not get into basketball for that. He got into basketball to star in soda commercials and movies based on soda commercials and movies based on haunted hotels. He did not get into basketball to be asked questions about basketball.