Brooklyn Hasn’t Cured Kyrie

Five months after Kyrie Irving rejected the city of Boston, Boston fans rejected Kyrie. Their disdain of him predictably thrust him into a dark place unleashing an ego and emotions he couldn’t control. It’s peculiar in a way. Many athletes in Kyrie’s position would be happy with where they have landed, particularly if a $140 million dollar payday is attached to it. But Brooklyn isn’t enough of a soft place to fall to solve the Kyrie puzzle and sensitivity. Because it’s easy to set him off, the night before Thanksgiving was textbook Kyrie fare. He had to have the last word.

History tells us Thanksgiving eve is a Kyrie mess. A few years ago, he famously said when asked about Thanksgiving, “F**k Thanksgiving”.  This year, it wasn’t the holiday that drew his pettiness but the fans who spewed his name like it was vomit. In retaliation, Kyrie went to social media where disputes are rarely litigated with logic but where he feels comfortable enough to slay folks.

“Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive” he wrote on Instagram in his victimization theology, as if sports entertainment isn’t a collection of people who work to build and promote a product that highlights him. What is he talking about?  He wasn’t finished ranting though. Kyrie said sports entertainment means very little in the real world.

Tell that to the ushers. The parking attendants. Those who work in concessions. The trainers. Tell that to the hotel housekeepers who make your bed. Tell that to the garment workers who sew your jerseys and stitch your merchandise. To the shoe factories who make your kicks. Tell that to the parents who have to save money to see you play because it makes their kid happy, money that could be used for something else. Tell that to Muhammad Ali and John Carlos and Colin Kapernick and LeBron James who used sports as a way to illuminate inequality. Tell that to every teenager who is running track and playing basketball and at the batting cage and swimming 10 laps before school and on the ice- kids who want the life Kyrie Irving has. Tell them sports means nothing in the real world.

Tell that to my father. He had a stroke five weeks ago. He is relearning his language by watching sports and listening to the announcers. He has fought off depression by staying involved in what the Clippers and Lakers are doing, by reading the box scores. Sports entertainment is giving him the will to keep fighting through the damage and stay alive.

It doesn’t bother me that Kyrie is a moody teammate. That he wrecked Boston’s season. That he lied to the fans about staying. That he thinks last and speaks first. That he doesn’t support his teammates and wouldn’t go with them to Boston, in effect he let them face the rage alone. It doesn’t bother me that Kyrie thinks he is better than the people he doesn’t understand, and he thinks he is smarter too. What bothers me about Kyrie is that he is judgmental. He puts people down. Whether it is his young teammates or fans who are booing him and calling him coward, Kyrie thinks he knows more than the people who dislike his behavior. But this is what I know.

Kyrie wants to even the score. His feelings were bruised by ESPN reveling in the boos that were raining down. So he took to social media to vomit about something he benefits from, instead of doing what Jordan, Kobe or LeBron would do and handle all disagreements on the court.

Ironically, while Kyrie was all wrapped up in his victimization, Anthony Davis returned to New Orleans. He heard boos but rarely was the word coward used because Davis, while in New Orleans, made himself part of the community. He availed himself to others. Afterwards, he exchanged jerseys with Jrue Holiday. Davis not only dropped 41 on his old team, afterwards he was gracious.

Kyrie needs a tutorial from Davis. He also needs to absorb some facts about fans. They attend games, watch on television, purchase merchandise. They monetize the NBA and in turn the NBA athletes. Without the television ratings which the fans are directly responsible for, the NBA would have zero leverage in media negotiations that benefited Kyrie Irving and his like cohorts extremely well. Without fans buying shoes for themselves and their kids, there would be no endorsement dollars. So when Kyrie goes on his rant about sports being entertainment and entertainment only, and it’s worthless, he is once again ignoring the truth. What he calls “entertainment” is paying him what he could never hope to acquire outside of his “entertainment” life.  He talks as if “entertainment” is a dirty word when in fact “entertainment” is why he’s a millionaire.

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