Not only does Smith think Irving is selfish, but the ESPN personality believes the Nets need to part ways with Uncle Drew.
Stephen A. Smith on Kyrie Irving: ‘He’s just a problem’
After the Nets announced that Irving couldn’t rejoin the team until he got the COVID-19 vaccine, Smith went on a rant and called the one-time champion selfish and a problem. The veteran NBA analyst said the Nets need to get rid of Irving, who will not get paid for the 41 home games he’ll miss if he refuses to get vaccinated.
“The Brooklyn Nets need to get rid of Kyrie Irving,” Smith said. “He got to go. He’s just a problem. His level of stubbornness has elevated to a glaring level of selfishness, and I completely applaud the Brooklyn Nets for taking this position. I said it before, and I’m telling y’all again: They’d give his a** away for a box of cookies if they could. They’re so disgusted with this dude. I’m telling you what I know.”
A few hours after the Nets announced the Irving news, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Irving isn’t anti-vax and is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates. One source said, “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless.”
When Smith read Charania’s report, he went even more nuclear on Irving.
Stephen A. Smith: Kyrie Irving isn’t stupid, but he looks stupid
Smith knows that Irving isn’t stupid. However, he thinks the All-NBA guard looks pretty foolish right now.
“I am not calling Kyrie Irving stupid,” Smith said. “Kyrie Irving, I happen to believe, is an intelligent brother whose heart is in the right place. But now, you’ve regressed to an alarming level of self-righteousness. It not only makes you look hypocritical and untrustworthy, it makes you look — what I know you are not — which is flat out stupid. It’s the stupidest thing that I think I have encountered with an NBA player. You’re gonna sit up there and not play and not take a vaccine that evidently you don’t have a problem with it, according to the reports. You just wanna give a voice to the voiceless? Really?”
Irving is slated to miss out on $16 million-plus in salary this season and also forgo a $186 million extension. Since Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons wants to be traded and the Sixers don’t play their home games under the same type of mandate the Nets currently face with the COVID-19 vaccine, many NBA fans on social media believe Brooklyn should trade Irving for Simmons.
However, it appears the Sixers want to steer clear of Irving.
Sixers reportedly have no interest in Uncle Drew
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Sixers have no interest in trading Simmons to the Nets for Irving. Legendary NBA scribe Marc Stein reports that people around the NBA believe Irving would retire if Brooklyn traded him.
Last season, Irving became the ninth player in NBA history to hit 50/40/90 benchmarks in a single season. He shot 50.6% from the field, 40.2% from beyond the arc, and 92.2% from the free-throw line while averaging 26.9 points. No one can question Irving’s basketball skills or impact on winning.
However, he’s been a distraction on every team he’s played for, and Nets majority governor Joseph Tsai can’t be excited to pay Irving $16 million not to play this season if he does, in fact, not get the vaccine.