Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has decided to keep his vaccination status confidential. For now, it is just speculation, but many have assumed that Irving is unvaccinated. This is mostly because he was not in the building for Nets media day. Unvaccinated players were not allowed to attend in concordance with New York City’s coronavirus health and safety protocols. This is just the latest of many dilemmas involving Irving over the past two seasons, but Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach Phil Handy says that should not be a reason for others to judge the Nets star. Especially if they don’t know him personally.
“Until you actually get to know Kyrie, you’re going to get a lot of speculation. He’s going to say some stuff and certain things, but people don’t understand maybe what’s the context behind it or where he’s coming from,” Handy told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports. “So, I always say a lot of times athletes, in general, are just in the spotlight where you just hear sound bites or you might see this or hear this, but people don’t really know the kid. And so, until you actually get to know Kyrie, I tell people all the time that if you don’t know someone, you probably shouldn’t speak on him.”
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Phil Handy Has High Praise for Kyrie Irving & LeBron
Handy, a three-time champion has a close relationship with both Irving and Lakers star LeBron James. He was an assistant coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 championship squad that completed a historic 3-1 comeback against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Kyrie and LeBron were teammates on that team. Speaking from experience, Handy believes that individually they are two of the best talents to grace an NBA court.
“They’re great players. They’re some of the greatest players that have ever played the game,” Handy said of Kyrie and LeBron to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson per a transcript sent to Heavy.
“I know I have learned a ton of stuff from those guys by listening to them, seeing them work and so I have always taken the approach to study them and also I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that I know my own material and those types of guys push you to be great.”
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Handy Details His Experience Coaching Kyrie & LeBron
“They really push you as a coach and challenge you and rise to those levels so, I’ve always just tried to be an honest coach and direct. Well me personally, my coaching style is more about collaboration. How did I build relationships with each one of those guys is really that I had to study them myself – I wanted to know as much as I could about their games, what they like and what they don’t like,” Handy continued.
“The first time that I ever met any one of those gentlemen, I simply asked them, “How as a coach can I help you get better? What are some of the areas in your game where you are? What are some of the areas that you want to improve at this point of your career?” and really just being able to extract information from them to where I can help them as best I can.”
Since leaving the Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA offseason Kyrie has yet to make it back to the NBA Finals. This year he could make a return trip there in a matchup against his ex-teammate LeBron. It is one of the many subplots that could make the 2022 NBA Finals one of the best ever.