During Monday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, some fans sitting courtside decided to heckle the Nets’ Kyrie Irving. The fans can be heard saying “You need LeBron” and “Where’s KD?” The references being obvious. Irving clapped back and said:
“Got y’all a championship and motherf***ers still ungrateful.”
Of course Irving was once a Cavalier, drafted No. 1 in 2011. He hit the most famous shot in franchise history in the 2016 NBA Finals to help bring Cleveland its first NBA championship.
“Got y’all a championship and motherf**kers still ungrateful”
Kyrie to a Cavs fan heckling him.
(via TT/_Willswish) pic.twitter.com/1mYFKA074m
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 18, 2022
One of the fans can be heard saying, “it was just one” in response.
Aren’t y’all tired of this? That’s directed to the fans.
You’re sitting courtside at an NBA game. How about you enjoy the experience instead of heckling a player at work and trying to go viral and become famous. What are we doing here?
Paying money to go to an arena to heckle someone while they are at work is strange, childish and weak behavior. It says far more about the heckler, than the target.
But this is the culture and world we live in. Mob mentality rules and fans believe they are a part of the action. Of course Irving could’ve just ignored them, like he and other NBA players do the majority of the time.
But hearing your name called repeatedly in close quarters, particularly during a dead ball, can be annoying. However that’s what these people are, annoying. They’re like little gnats or flies at a cookout that just keep buzzing in and around you.
Irving was right to hit them with historical facts. He was a major factor in bringing the franchise and the city a title. It had been 52 years since the city’s last title celebration.
Many fans are ungrateful. They feel entitled to players when they don the jersey of their favorite teams. Forgetting, of course, that this is the players’ job and career. Only one part, albeit important, of their lives.
Irving is frequently bringing attention to the fact that players are human beings first and live full lives away from basketball.
Following the game he got into a back and forth with a reporter over his COVID-19 vaccination status.
“I’m not bringing science into the basketball,” Irving said. “Everyone’s feeling what’s going on in the real world. I’m walking around as an unvaccinated person. I’ve already been separated into another group of community. I’m just saying to everybody, I’m human. I have decisions to make, I have a family to take care of.
“There are things that are just as important to me as being great at the game of basketball or leaving a legacy.”
Irving’s stance on the vaccination from an individual, family, and public health perspective is wrong. All of the scientific evidence and real-world evidence tells us that the vaccine and booster are the best ways to stop the spread and prevent individuals from getting severely ill.
But his part about being human, and things just as important as basketball are correct. He elaborated further when the reporter stressed that millions of basketball fans care about his vaccination status.
“That’s what I’m saying. You’re bringing my vaccination status into a basketball game, and I live my life, the majority of the time, when I’m away from this,” Irving said. “So when I say I’m not getting vaccinated and I’m making a choice with my life, somehow it gets mixed into, ‘Well, what about the basketball?’ When it’s like, ‘No, bro. We live in a real world.’
“This is great to be able to do this. I’m grateful for the opportunity, I love playing with my teammates, I love playing on the Nets. But I’ve already been away enough time to think about this, to process this, to be able to make my decision, stand strong, understand that people are going to agree and some people are going to disagree…So though I feel your feeling and emotion asking that question, it feels a little disrespectful. I’m not just a basketball player, bro.”
It’s OK to disagree with Irving’s choice to be unvaccinated, it is wrong. But that doesn’t invalidate the fact that he is human and there being more to him than just basketball.
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