Prior to Monday’s First Take, Smith promised to go off on the Brooklyn Nets following the team’s third consecutive defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics. “Honest to God I don’t know what I’m going to say this morning,” he tweeted. When the episode arrived, he directed some particularly questionable criticism at Irving, who he appeared to suggest would make up any excuse in order to skip a game.
“When Russia bombed Ukraine I thought Kyrie Irving wasn’t going to show up for work,” said Smith, who mocked Irving over his decision to take a break following the January 6 Capitol riot last year. “He’s worth $50 million a year, I would never give that man a long-term contract again in life. Every deal for him would be a one-year deal cause you can’t trust him to show up to work. … You can’t trust him to show up for work!”
Irving was famously forced to sit out a large string of games from October last year until early this year due to his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Smith criticized Irving in the past regarding his stance on vaccines, but more recently softened his take, and suggested he was for Irving being allowed to play.
Just yesterday, Smith also went viral for ripping Ben Simmons after it was announced that he won’t play in Game 4 of the series.
Check out some reactions to Stephen A. Smith’s wild take about Irving below.