Over the years, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s antics and eccentricities have made him a polarizing figure on and off the court.
On his podcast, Andrew Schultz was talking with his guest, UFC fighter Israel “Stylebender” Adesanya, about getting nervous before a performance, when he said he “would beat the s— out of Kyrie” in a hypothetical fight (at the 57:00 mark).
“Oh, I would beat the shit out of Kyrie,” said Schultz. “Easy. That’s easy. That’s easy. No, that’s easy. That’s easy. KD (Kevin Durant) that’d be more difficult obviously ’cause he’s 7-feet tall.”
When he entered the NBA in the 2011-12 season, Irving had a low profile, as he mostly let his game do the talking for him. He made his first of seven All-Star games in his second season, and thanks to him, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked to have a bright future.
Their timeline changed, however, when LeBron James returned to town in 2014. Suddenly, instead of being a young, upstart team hoping to make the playoffs, they were a legitimate contender that was expected to win the NBA championship.
They reached the NBA Finals the first season of James’ second tenure with them, only to lose to the Golden State Warriors when Irving suffered a knee injury.
But they finally won it all in 2016, as Irving started ascending to superstardom.
Unfortunately, it was around that time he became outspoken. He claimed the Earth was flat, then later claimed he was joking.
After the Cavs lost the 2017 title to Golden State, Irving asked to be traded, and he was sent to the Boston Celtics, where it was rumored that he wasn’t getting along with his teammates.
He joined the Brooklyn Nets three years ago along with Kevin Durant, and although they were expected to win championships, the experiment has fallen short of expectations, and Irving has been one reason why.
Last season, he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and as a result, the team sent him home for much of the season, as a New York City mandate prohibited unvaccinated persons from participating in games played there.
This year, he posted a tweet that promoted a film that has been characterized as anti-Semitic, and the Nets responded by suspending him. He is currently still serving that suspension.
Amidst Irving’s head-scratching behavior, many around the basketball world have denounced him, and some have even called for him to face a stiffer punishment than he has already.