Unlike last season when he was only available via video, Kyrie Irving was present for the Brooklyn Nets’ 2022 media day. “Uncle Drew” asked for privacy last year regarding his vaccination status and home game availability, but answered all the questions this time around.
Irving responded to his critics who created a stigma around him for not getting the vaccine and for becoming the “voice of the voiceless.” Stephen A. Smith, on First Take, had a prompt rebuttal to the seven-time All-Star’s statement:
“Kyrie and I will probably never speak again in life. I assure you, I won’t lose a minute of sleep over it. The issue is, you gotta be committed to showing up to work. The lack of commitment that people suspect he has, that is on him, not us.
“When you talk about wanting to change the narrative, you gotta accept first responsibility for the fact that you are the one that dictated the narrative. I might have disseminated it, I might have echoed it, but the creation came from him. Now that he’s in this situation, you gotta own it.”
Stephen A. Smith indicated that one of the reasons the Nets failed last season was because of Kyrie Irving’s refusal to take the vaccine.
Smith mentioned another instance of Irving electing to sit out:
“It ain’t just about the vaccine. It’s about the season before when you elected to sit out because of the riots at the US Capitol and you were traumatized.
“It was about knowing you were supposed to come back but you were seen partying with your family, knowing its violation of protocols by the NBA and that was gonna get you additional time off. It was about the time in Boston when you took time off.”
Kyrie Irving didn’t get the max extension he would have hoped for. He picked up a player option for the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Kyrie Irving wouldn’t have given himself the max deal, according to Richard Jefferson
At Brooklyn’s media day, Irving said that he gave up around $100 million because of his vaccination status.
Richard Jefferson, Kyrie Irving’s former teammate, reacted to this by saying:
“From the basketball standpoint, there’s huge questions of durability. He’s getting into that age now where you’re like, are we going to commit to somebody that hasn’t played 70 games in back-to-back seasons since 2013, 2014? Has had multiple surgeries and we’re going to give him the bag?
“He wouldn’t give himself that contract. He, as a businessman, and I know Kyrie is a businessman, he would not give himself that contract. That’s why this season is all about changing the narrative.”
Stephen A. Smith and Jefferson agreed that the best way for Kyrie Irving to address the situation is to simply play his best next season.