During this year’s free agency period, the Dallas Mavericks inked All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to a three-year, $120 million deal. But some were wary of whether the Mavericks should have offered Irving a long-term deal after a tumultuous stint in Brooklyn. But Mavericks assistant coach God Shammgod had a warning for all of Irving’s doubters as he prepares to enter his first full season in Dallas.
“They’re gonna see this year,” Shammgod said of Irving on the “Knuckleheads,” podcast with Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson.
With all the turmoil that has surrounded Irving over the last two seasons, it is easy to see why some people may have a certain perception of him. But Shammgod says that perception is not always reality.
“As a person, he’s special. That’s why when people say stuff, I’m like ‘Bro, do you know him,” Shammgod added.
“It’s just amazing to see the things that he can do. He’s one of the people that got it all. It ain’t just ballhandling; he’s got all the layups, shots, everything. He’s just a great person and, a great player. He’s always trying to teach the young guys on the team.”
Kyrie Irving Had Rough Stint With Nets
Irving missed the majority of the 2021 season after refusing to get the New York City-mandated COVID-19 vaccine that was required for him to play home games. His absence played a major role in them getting a low playoff seed, and they were convincingly swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
The following season, with no mandate in place, the Nets were hopeful that Irving would take advantage of a clean slate, and for a while, things looked that way. After firing Steve Nash, the Nets went on a 12-game win streak under head coach Jacque Vaughn. But Irving once again found himself amid drama after he tweeted the link to a film that contained anti-Semitic tropes. After failing to apologize promptly, the Nets suspended Irving.
The final nail in the coffin was when Irving and the Nets were at odds over the terms of a new contract extension. When it became apparent that a deal would not get done before the trade deadline, Kyrie requested a trade from the Nets and was sent to Dallas promptly.
Kyrie’s Ex-teammate Sounds off on His Vaccination Choice
After his decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Nets sidelined Irving at the beginning of the 2021-22 season. The team reinstated him in January after injuries on their roster became a factor. Still, Irving could not play games at Barclays Center for most of the season and ended up playing just 29 games overall.
His decision to remain unvaccinated was met with harsh criticism. However, former Nets guard David Duke Jr. said he believed the criticism Irving received was unwarranted.
“I feel that all the hate he gets, all the scrutiny, like all the criticism is as if he is not a human being as well, you know what I mean like if your best friend says they don’t get vaccinated, you’re not going to go and call them everything in the book cause they don’t wanna get vaccinated,” Duke said during an appearance on the “Club Ambition” podcast in 2022.
“Just because he doesn’t wanna get the vaccine or he wants to stand on a belief, I don’t believe he should be criticized at all. I love Ky. He’s one of the best human beings, and just that I know he stands on what he believes in and [is] super, like, humble. He’s very welcoming. He’s a nice dude, like, I don’t have any complaints about him.”