Published by Fran Cava
As the preseason comes to a close, the only story the media seems to be interested in is Kyrie Irving. It is impossible to go on any social media outlet without someone ranting about his character or attitude. This slander isn’t particularly new either. Kyrie through the years has been dragged for his questionable leadership – his contributions to a team environment – and of course how he handles the media. The difference now is that he’s in Brooklyn; where the media isn’t as laid back as it was in Cleveland or even in Boston. Not exactly the greatest career move to go to New York when your not fond of the media, but that’s beside the point.
Analysts and reporters became outraged the other day when Kyrie “threatened” to boycott the media this season. Kyrie has gone through cold spells with the media but has never completely shut them out. Charles Barkley made a good point by saying, “They don’t pay you $40 million just to play basketball. Part of it is sitting down with you guys, sitting down with me and Kenny… “. Part of player’s contracts include obligations to speak with the media, so technically Kyrie has to at least give them some sound bites. The problem the media can’t seem to grasp is that the man simply does not trust them.
Here’s how it usually goes.
Kyrie sits down and says something like the Earth is flat, or he may sit down and just give some cold responses to get through it. This is turned into a headline about how Kyrie is a conspiracist, or how he is toxic/locker room cancer because he doesn’t want to talk. He then proceeds to shut down for the media because he feels whatever he says will be twisted. Then eventually he gets over it, starts to talk again, and the cycle repeats.
Now, every athlete is usually forced to talk, even when they don’t want to. Like Charles said it’s part of the job, but when you have 200 other guys to talk to it might be okay to leave the guy alone for a week. Some people love the spotlight. Put a camera in front of Curry at any time and he’ll give the writers something to work with. Some guys want to just play ball and collect checks. For role players that’s easy, but since Kyrie’s a star that creates complications. It’s brutally honest but fans don’t care what Joe Harris has to say, they want to hear from their star point guard. That being said, if a guy wants a few days off from talking then he should be entitled to that, especially since the season hasn’t even started. He shouldn’t have guys like Stephen A. attacking his character, dragging Kobe’s name into this mess by saying he would be disappointed. For one it’s a cheap way to get a headline, and secondly, it pushes Kyrie away even more. He’s said in the past that he’s dealt with mental health issues throughout his career, so the harassment by the media is quite questionable. The league has said that they want guys to be more open about these types of issues, yet when he comes out and wants some space it’s not granted. From his perspective, every encounter with the media leaves him in darker light with the public than before.
The New York media isn’t going to get any easier for him. So while he can continue on this brief media exodus, he’s going to have to eventually talk this season. It wouldn’t kill them to give a little more spotlight to trade candidates like Levert, Spencer, and Allen though. Going forward maybe just be less hard on him, and give the guy some space so he feels comfortable for interviews. Also, don’t ask questions like this…