Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving unleashed a series of tweets last month, shunning the media for their treatment of star athletes over the course of the NBA season. His comments were met with heavy criticism by the host of “ESPN First Take”, Stephen A. Smith.
“You can try to paint this issue, Kyrie, as anything you want to. What it comes down to is you don’t want to show up to work. You want to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, how you want to do it, while you got your hand out for someone else’s money,” Smith said per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “And then when you get called on it, we’re the peons. We’re the ones who are puppets. So, before you excoriated us. Now you’re pitying us. Because you want to highlight the puppet masters ,who you are worth billions to. You’re not worth billions bro. Millions, yes. Billions, no. That’s delusional. You gave that up years ago.”
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Marbury Defends Kyrie, Slams Stephen A. Smith
Smith’s comments about Kyrie caught the attention of former New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets guard Stephon Marbury, who did not hold back when responding to the ESPN analyst’s criticisms about Irving.
“I’m starting to think Stephen A. Smith thinks he’s a star for speaking the English language loud and obnoxious on TV,” Marbury said to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports Network.
“I truly believe he’s upset that he couldn’t play ball in front of 19,000 people every night, so he reverted towards targeting (bash) people who look like him who have true intentions on earth to be real and authentic towards helping people.”
Daily News Reporter Slams Durant & Kyrie
Stephen A. is not the only media member that took shots at Irving after the Nets embarrassing playoff elimination at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Mike Lupica of the “New York Daily News” placed the bulk of the blame for the Nets demise on Irving and his co-star Kevin Durant. Citing that Durant has failed to call Irving out on his shortcomings.
“[A] self-indulgent and self-absorbed player whose vaccination status was the single biggest contributing factor to what became not just a lost season, but one of the biggest flops in New York City basketball history. If the Nets had a choice here, if someone other than their stars were running their franchise, they would tell Dr. Irving to make sure that door didn’t hit him on the way out of it,” Lupica said per NetsDaily.
“When it was over, Durant defended Irving, despite what Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated had done to the Nets and their season. What choice does Durant have? They are joined at the hip until Irving is playing for somebody else, something he will inevitably do, even as he talked about how he is here for the long haul. When you heard that, if you’re a Nets fan, you had a right to be thinking, yeah, but what’s the good news?”
The Nets will enter the 2022-23 season with championship or bust expectations placed on their shoulders. It will be interesting to see if they can handle the pressure.