The relationship between star guard Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets has been on rocky ground for a while now.
From Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated last season to his open revolt during the NBA bubble in 2020, things between the talented but mercurial player and the organization haven’t been firm. Following an offseason where rumors swirled about Irving possibly being traded to the Lakers just about every day, he’s back in the saddle in Brooklyn.
As the team tries to sort out roles with Ben Simmons now in the fold and on the court, the Nets have struggled out the gate. But that hasn’t stopped Irving from ruffling the feathers of team owner Joe Tsai.
First Kanye offended a slew of different races and religions in various interviews that drew the wrath of the Black and Jewish communities and his business partners. Call it bad timing, but Kyrie Irving’s endorsement of a film titled, “Hebrews To Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” has landed him in the direct fire of the guy who cuts his checks.
— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) October 27, 2022
Irving was immediately called out for his views and stance on the controversial piece, with Tsai issuing a statement.
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity and or religion.”
The Nets public relations department also issued a statement on the matter.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech. We believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL, who have been supportive at this time.”
Irving’s Endorsement Of Book Comes On The Heels Of Friend Kanye West Anti-Semitic Comments
Irving’s comments come in a week where good friend Kanye West lost many partnerships including Adidas. Ye says the lost deals reached as much as $2 billion in a single day.
Irving is a lot like Kanye in that he often goes against the grain while saying and doing things that keep the attention focused on him. Then blaming other people for calling them out on it. Now Irving is in a bit of a quandary, as team owner Tsai wants to sit and talk with him about his beliefs.
The video pushed by Kyrie Irving is based on a venomously antisemitic book which asserts that "many famous high-ranking Jews" have "admitted" to "worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer." https://t.co/516KWeA8Ng
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) October 28, 2022
Irving Seems More Interested In His Off The Court Life Than Playing Basketball
Since hitting the championship-winning basket to upset the 73-9 Warriors in 2016, Irving has been a bit of a head case. There is a contingent of fans who claim he is just “woke” and misunderstood.
Either way, his NBA career has left much to be desired since he left LeBron James to lead his own team after winning a title in Cleveland. His stop in Boston ended ugly, and upon his departure the team immediately got better. Now in Brooklyn, he and Kevin Durant haven’t had much success, and a lot of it stems from the belief that they don’t need a coach.
In fact, prior to the team beginning the 2019-20 season, Irving even stated that they didn’t need a coach. During a segment on Durant’s, “The ETCs” podcast
“I don’t really see us having a head coach. You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.”
“It’s a collaborative effort.”
And in many ways that type of attitude, along with Irving’s ways, haven’t helped the team on the floor. It certainly isn’t helping him in the court of public opinion either.
Similar to his stance against the vaccine that basically tanked Brooklyn’s championship hopes, Kyrie’s timing with the endorsement of such a controversial book and the Nets’ dismal record is once again shining the wrong kind of light on the franchise.