Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving dazzles fans on the basketball court with his elite scoring ability and magician-like handles every night. However, he’s a polarizing player off the court due to his strange personality and controversial comments.
Irving has been deemed as a villain by the NBA media after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to get away from LeBron James, lying to Boston Celtics fans when he said he was going to re-sign with the team, and calling the media “pawns” following a fine for not speaking to them on media day before the start of the 2020-21 season.
Kyrie Irving’s latest act of kindness, though, proves that the media has him all wrong.
Kyrie Irving may have the best handles of all time
Kyrie Irving’s Godfather is Rod Strickland, who had one of the best handles and layup packages during his time in the NBA. The Nets superstar has taken everything Strickland taught him and ran with it to epic proportions.
With the Cavs, Celtics, and Nets, Irving has crossed hundreds of defenders and put many on the floor. If he’s not beating you from the perimeter, Irving is getting to the paint at will and finishing in heavy traffic with either hand. His ability to score at the rim is incredible, and it doesn’t matter which shot blocker is trying to block him. Irving will find a way to score, even if he has to get through five guys on one possession.
Irving has career averages of 22.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in the NBA. He’s a six-time All-Star and hit the game-winning shot in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals over Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry as a member of the Cavs.
Despite his theatrics on the court, though, Kyrie Irving isn’t beloved by everyone.
Kyrie Irving has been bashed a lot since his Cavs days ended
Kyrie Irving’s reputation started to take a hit after he requested a trade from the Cavs in the summer of 2017. Uncle Drew didn’t want to play with LeBron James anymore despite the duo being lethal and advancing to three straight Finals together.
During his two years on the Celtics, Irving struggled to be the leader and made some puzzling comments to the media. His biggest blunder in Boston, though, was when he told Celtics fans before the start of the 2018-19 season he was going to re-sign with the club in free agency, only to go back on his word and sign with the Nets instead.
The media in Boston crucified Irving for lying to the fans and failing to be a proper leader. Things only got worse for the All-Star when he didn’t face the Celtics in Boston during the 2018-19 season. The Celtics media and fans claimed that Irving was scared to face the Boston crowd when the reality was that he was dealing with an injury.
Irving played in 20 games during his first season with the Nets before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. After Brooklyn hired Steve Nash as its new head coach, Irving went on Kevin Durant’s podcast and said the Nets don’t really need a coach. That quote made everyone go crazy, particularly the media, who had a field day bashing Irving.
Pundits have called Kyrie Irving the most selfish and arrogant player in the NBA. However, if you look at everything he’s done off the court with his time and money, it’s impossible to say those things about Kyrie.
Kyrie’s latest charitable act proves he’s not a bad person
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kyrie Irving paid off the college tuition of nine students from Lincoln University on Dec. 10 as part of his foundation’s 11 days of giving in December. This is just the latest act of generosity Irving has done.
Irving’s 11 days of giving also included the one-time champion donating school supplies to 25 teenage girls in Africa and giving 100 backpacks to students in New Jersey, per Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy.
So, the next time you decide to call Kyrie Irving a villain, take a look at his track record off the court to get a sense of how deep and caring his heart really is.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.