Kyrie Irving is no stranger to making headlines, from his game-winning shot in Game 7 of 2016 NBA Finals to his post deemed anti-Semitic that some people wanted to see him canceled over in November 2022.
He is a seven-time All-Star, 2014 All-Star game MVP, 3-time All-NBA selection, NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, and 2013 Three-point Contest champion.
Now, Irving is leading the guards in the Eastern Conference in the latest edition of the fan voting for NBA All-Star selections. Since returning from his suspension on Nov. 20, he has helped the Brooklyn Nets win 18 of their past 25 games, which has put them at fourth overall in the Eastern Conference standings.
All-Star voting leaders
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 19, 2023
Irving’s controversy over the years: anti-vaxxer
Irving has said a lot of puzzling things over the years during his time in the NBA. We all know his latest one last November when posted a link to a video of Amazon that was deemed to be anti-Semitic, but let’s take a look at his headline history.
Then, there was the vaccine issue with Irving. He refused to take the covid-19 vaccine that kept him off the court for 29 games in 2021-22 NBA season because of city mandate that didn’t allow him to play in home games. His owner doubled down by stating he wanted a full-time player not part time, but eventually allowed Irving to play in road games until the mandate was lifted.
If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired. ♾🤞🏾
This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history.
— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) September 20, 2022
The Nets hired former head coach Steve Nash in September 2020. Irving appeared on Kevin Durant’s podcast ‘The ETCS’ and stated that he doesn’t see the Nets as having a head coach.
“I don’t really see us having a head coach,” said Irving. “You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.”
The comments came off very dismissive to Nash and his accomplishments as a player, which later led to the continuance of disrespect toward Nash during his tenure.
Nash was fired earlier this season, and reports came out that Irving would call off the plays Nash would call for them to run during games. This apparently happened on more than one occasion, according to the New York Post.
In 2018, Irving said that the Earth is flat while on a podcast during his time playing for the Boston Celtics. Like always, Irving doubled down on those comments and explained his theory during a post practice interview with local media.
“I do research on both sides,” Irving said at the time. “I’m not against anyone that thinks the Earth is round. I’m not against anyone that thinks it’s flat. I just love hearing the debate.”
He eventually apologized for those comments and sent out a special apology to all the science teachers.
Is Kyrie all-star worthy?
Irving was in front of notable names like Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, James Harden, Trae Young, etc.
Mitchell and Young have played more games than Irving. Both are having better statistical seasons than Irving as well, but the fans like who they like.
Irving is averaging 25.8 points per game and 4.9 assists per game. The only knock on his game this season is that his he is only shooting 35.3 % for the three-point line, which is the second worst in his career.
Meanwhile, Young is averaging 27.2 points per game and 9.8 assists. Mitchell had a career-high 71 points on Jan.2nd and is averaging 28.4 points per game with 4.8 assists per game.
Harden has the highest assist total out of the four guards with 11.2 assists per game and lowest points total out of the four guards with 21.5 points per game. His 30 games played this season is also the lowest of the four guards.
Irving has helped his team climb back in the top four of the Eastern Conference and has managed to stay out of headlines. He should definitely get the All-Star nod and has a strong case to be a starter.