NBA’s Most Polarizing Figure | Jay Williams Confronts Stephen A. Smith About Kyrie Irving Hate

Kyrie Irving’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks has polarized the sports world for its sudden nature, but in the mind of Jay Williams none more so than Stephen A. Smith. The two had an epic verbal sparring on Monday’s edition of “First Take” when Williams decided to call Smith out for his consistently harsh takes on Irving.

“We put a different kind of onus on our athletes, and you made mention of that on your podcast,” said Williams.

“I don’t deny that! I don’t deny that! I don’t deny that!” Stephen A. Smith said in defense of his critique of Irving.

The Williams Effect

Williams pushed forward on his passive-aggressive offensive.

“I’m not the one – you’re the one saying I’m being sensitive, but you’re the one that’s seeming very emotional,” Williams said. “Come on, man. Come on, man. I’m not sitting up here on national TV absolving Kyrie Irving of every decision; I’m not going back and recounting every decision. I’m just saying how it’s interesting to me; it just carries such a bigger momentum in particular with you more so than anybody else.”

Smith spoke to Malika Andrews when the trade request was made by Irving and kept it very real about how he felt about it when Andrews asked him what he felt about it.

“Idiotic, let’s get that out the way,” Smith began. Here’s a guy in Kyrie Irving that for the last three years, who’s gotten most of his money but missed more than 50 percent of his games, enters the last year after this offseason. Obviously the situation he got into earlier this year was unfortunate but he resurrected himself from that. Was playing spectacular basketball leading amongst guards for the All Star game. Playing outstanding basketball and reminding everybody what an absolute flat-out basketball player he is. No one questioned that, all we ever questioned was, ‘Can the man go the rest of the season without being a distraction?’

“And low and behold he pulls this; and why? Because the Brooklyn Nets had the temerity, the unmitigated gall to say, ‘play the season, we’ll see because we haven’t had you for a full season without any drama,’ and here he is again. For a guy that’s looking for a long-term deal from another team, there is no question about what you’re getting when Kyrie Irving is on the basketball court. The only question mark regarding him is his commitment to not being a distraction and going out there and performing.

“The fact that he’s made headlines with this, all it did was serve to remind everybody out there, he’s spectacular, we’d love to have him in our uniform so long as we don’t have to make a long-term investment in him because he cannot be trusted. He just reminded the basketball world of that.”

Smith has railed against Irving since he decided not to get vaccinated when New York City had an indoor vaccine mandate. On “First Take,” Smith picked up on Williams’ apparently skirting his direct issue with him and challenged him to keep it all the way real.

“Jay, you know what? What I would ask you is do me a favor, stop telling us what you find interesting and just tell us what you feel,” Smith said, curtly. “You say, ‘I find it interesting.’ you always say that. Say what you saying? What you saying? What you saying?”

When Keeping It Real…

“No, my job is to be interesting,” Williams said. “I just said what I’m saying Stephen A; am I not allowed to say what I find interesting?”

Then Smith flexed the big show host muscle.

“Of course you are. I invite you on the show to say what’s interesting,” Smith said.

Co-host Molly Qerim interjected.

“He thinks you’re too preoccupied with Kyrie, too hard on Kyrie,” Qerim translated.

It sent Smith further into a steaming rant.

“Did I mention Kyrie Irving last week before he demanded a trade? We were talking football. How many times did I mention Kyrie over the last few weeks?”

Williams poked the bear.

“I don’t seem the one being triggered right now,” Williams added. “It seems personal for you.

“I’m always triggered. Oh yes, I am. Yes, I am. What seems personal? For me, with Kyrie? You, of all people, with all the interest you, have got the nerve to sit here on national television and tell me I’m getting personal with a player? I don’t lose no sleep. I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving. I’m passionate about the subjects I’m passionate about. I don’t accuse you of getting personal when you take the positions you take.”

“You have accused me of getting personal. You have Stephen A. We both got a lot to say,” said Williams.

This really touched a nerve, and Smith picked up on the energy attempting to goad Williams into saying something he would probably regret.

Poking The Bear

“You do? You do? Just say it, Jay. Just say it, Jay.”

“I’m not in here for that. I’m on your show,” Williams said before falling back.”

Smith accepted Williams’ admission that he knew better than to say what he felt about Smith on the network’s flagship show.

“Okay. We’re good,” Smith said with the pleasure of having the final word.

Smith and Williams’ “debate” was highly entertaining, and the millions of views it received in real time and on social media proved people like watching their opposing dynamic. That is why Williams will live another day on the show hosted by a man he is very passionate about calling out.

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