At the beginning of NBA training camp, Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving released a statement to media in lieu of media availability.
“COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways,” Irving wrote in a statement released via his publicist, Ashley Blackwood.
“So I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey,” the statement read in part. “Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly.”
Irving and the Nets were fined $25,000 each for Irving not formally speaking.
Irving then responded by quoting Malcolm X via Instagram story and by relaying where his fine should go.
“I pray we utilize the “fine money” for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently.”
Continued Irving: “I do not talk to pawns. My attention is worth more.”
While Irving has since clarified his ‘pawn’ statement which was widely believed to be a dig at the media who cover him, the dialogue of players having to speak to the media became a national topic.
While Irving has only spoken on record to media once since NBA pre-season, he has used social media to get his message out.
Irving’s hosted Instagram Live dialogue’s with Brooklyn teammates Kevin Durant and Caris Levert.
Irving has also released music via social media.
“Traditional media when it comes to sports is becoming less and less important,” Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“You know Sportscenter is a great show and it’s fun to watch when you catch it but, you don’t go out of your way to turn it on at 11pm to catch the highlights anymore, you know? We’re consuming sports by being on Instagram and by being on Tik-Tok, being on SnapChat and if you’re a little bit older you’re on Facebook; or maybe you just go to ESPN app or go to a website. So, teams now have become media companies. We have to create our own media company; just like Scoop B is a media company and when a player — players also create their own content and their own brand and they got millions of followers on some cases on social media and they want to maintain that brand and they want to be true to themselves and there’s a balance sometimes where you with the team to try to get the players to understand that. But I think the bigger picture right now Scoop is and you brought up some really interesting things, the bigger picture right now is that things are changing so much and people consume basketball; the NBA in so many different places we have to remind them of some of the old school places to go to consume that media, right? To go whether if it’s streaming or traditional television, we need our players to remind them that the game is on ESPN tonight. It’s Mavs vs Lakers on ESPN because, if we don’t get all of us working together to lift us up, we’re going to lose the golden goose which is those media companies that are paying us for television rights and then salaries go down and that’s a bad thing for EVERYBODY. Because players get 50% of the income so, I don’t think we’ve done a good job of encouraging players to promote those games because we all benefit equally and I don’t think the players have did a good job recognizing that there’s an opportunity there that if we don’t take it and promote it — I mean, it shouldn’t just be me promoting our Mavs game last night. It should be LeBron, it should be Luka, it should be everybody promoting those games because we have to lift the game up. Three years ago we didn’t have to do that because traditional television was fine. But now with all the cord cutting and streaming it’s different and we have to be cognizant of that fact.”