Stephen A. Smith, the voice of ESPN is notorious for his brash delivery and often boisterous hot takes. On Tuesday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith had some harsh words for Brooklyn Nets Point Guard, Kyrie Irving. On Friday, Irving released a statement vowing to not speak directly to the media this upcoming NBA season. Smith was all but pleased with Kyrie’s actions.
Stephen A. Unloads
“I think he’s immature, I think that he’s occasionally selfish, and I think at this particular moment in time, he comes off as a damn snob,” Smith said. Kyrie explained in the statement that his reason for not talking directly to the media was to show support for the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. “Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing a statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly,” said Irving.
Kyrie Versus The Media
Kyrie has a notably rocky relationship with the NBA media and has ruffled feathers with his responses to reporter’s questions in the past. “He thinks people are beneath him and he’s above it,” Smith continued. “He looks at the media as being inauthentic. That’s what he thinks about the media. Everything that has happened to Kyrie Irving, Kyrie Irving has self-inflicted. Go back and look at the tapes”
Stephen A. Agrees With Kyrie
Stephen A. and Kyrie do agree on one thing, players should not be forced to talk to the media. At the same time, Smith believes that if players do choose to shut out the media, the appropriate consequence should follow. “Kyrie Irving should not be forced to engage with the media,” Smith said. “he doesn’t wanna talk to the media? Fine. We won’t miss him. But here’s the reality: he should be fined every damn day he doesn’t talk. Because you signed a contractual agreement — it comes along with your contract as an NBA player.”
Kyrie Clarifies His Statement
Under the current collective bargaining agreement players are required to have media availability throughout the season and playoffs. Kyrie did later clarify his proposed media blackout comments through his publicist Ashley Blackwood, stating that he does plan to fulfill his responsibilities this season. “This doesn’t mean he won’t do traditional media, he has every intent on building a mutually respectful relationship with the media,” Blackwood explained to Yahoo Sports. “This is his first attempt to communicate directly/effectively with the people who cover him the most,”
Smith did preface his comments by saying that he does believe that Kyrie is a good person. Despite the fact, Stephen A feels like the time has come for him to take accountability for his actions. “In Kyrie’s world, it’s always us. It’s never him. No matter what he says, no matter who he says it to. No matter what.”
Kyrie is quickly learning that when you play in the NBA’s biggest market, dealing with the media is literally apart of your job description. Despite the fact, Kyrie is through talking and is ready to let his actions speak. “My goal for this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself,” Irving said. With the nature of Stephen A’s comments being so harsh it will be interesting to see how Kyrie responds.