Kyrie Irving is not happy with how he believes he’s been portrayed by NBA fans and the media.
During a recent stream on Twitch, the Dallas Mavericks guard expressed his frustration with the perception he has following his recent controversies and sudden exit from the Brooklyn Nets. He suggested that people don’t know who he really is, and mockingly said he’s been called “woke” and someone “who doesn’t fit into the mold.” Other descriptors he threw out included “crazy,” “arrogant,” and “different.”
“'What's Ky gonna do this summer? Does Ky like Dallas? What happened in Brooklyn? What happened in Boston? What happened in Cleveland?,'" he continued in a voice imitating the commentary surrounding him. "'Why did you leave LeBron? ... Why did you leave all of these people?' ... Me, you would think I'm the cancer in the locker room, as if basketball is an individual sport that one person is supposed to take blame for. It's 15 guys on the team, and I'm the one cancer in the room? That's what it's portrayed as, that's what you guys get that's what they have fun doing. That's why these older, bitter gentlemen and women keep my name in their mouths every day."
During the same stream, he also suggested that he doesn’t consider himself “free” because he knows “kids are still working in the cobalt mines in the Congo, making Teslas.”
Prior to his trade to the Mavericks last month, Irving’s tenure with the Nets proved to be tumultuous. His refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine during the 2020-21 season kept him from playing Nets home games until the city’s laws were altered by NYC mayor Eric Adams.
Earlier this season, Irving sparked backlash after he posted a link on social media to the 2018 film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which has been widely criticized as antisemitic. He was subsequently suspended for five games without pay, and was told to meet with Jewish leaders, attend sensitivity training, and make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate groups. Irving also shared a public apology for promoting the film, but not before Nike ended its partnership with him.
During a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Irving clashed with a fan who heckled him. “Nothing like fans telling me how to play basketball,” he said, as seen in a clip of the moment below. “How does that make sense?” The fan replied, “Do you want me to tell you how to post on Amazon?” The comment appeared to be a reference to when Irving shared the link to the antisemitic film, which was available to stream on Amazon.