Speaking at Forbes’ Under 30 Summit in Boston yesterday, Kyrie Irving was asked yet again about his flat earth theory:
Kyrie apologizes for saying the world is flat. #Under30Summit pic.twitter.com/uJH3fNbPqS— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) October 1, 2018
He chalked up the media frenzy around his comments to momentary conspiracy theory brain and apologized for turning the world, well, upside down. In his defense and as Kyrie suggests, we’ve all been there. We’ve all listened to a podcast about the French and Indian War and immediately become experts on the French and Indian War or watched a convincing YouTube video that made us believers in Bigfoot. We’ve all been gabbing with friends and riffing on some topic to make each other laugh. Let’s not forget that Irving made these now infamous comments on Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye’s “Road Trippin’ with RJ & Channing” when they were teammates in Cleveland.
But here’s the thing about Kyrie (and why I’ve grown to enjoy him more and more): he’s not just a cerebral player on the floor; he’s a cerebral person off the floor. What may have started as a goof blown completely out of proportion turned into a teaching moment for the 26-year-old. Last night, he reflected on “the power of voice.” A month after making the comments on the podcast, he paid a follow up visit to re-address his comments and said:
“As I’m at All-Star weekend I’m starting to see different news channels, different people pick it up. And it almost felt like I was standing on top of a pendulum and I was swinging back and forth and it gave everyone a chance to look at me, and, if they didn’t agree with me, to throw rocks at me,” Irving said. “People were asking me questions and they were looking at me like I didn’t have a brain on or my parents didn’t raise me the right way.”
In an interview with CBS Boston months later, he called the flat earth controversy “an exploration tactic” to warn us about the perils of group think and taking the word of a celebrity as fact. This may sound like millennial mumbo jumbo, but Kyrie sounds like a mature young superstar not just trying to find his way around the league, but person trying to find himself in the world. What should have been the headline from last night’s interview were his comments on his impending free agency:
Kyrie Irving on his upcoming free agency: pic.twitter.com/3cARHvf5pu— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) October 1, 2018
On Media Day, he could not have been more explicit about his love for the city, place in the future of the franchise, and comfort with his personal goals and opportunity to reach them with the Celtics. Listen to those words from last night’s interview again:
“You come down to who you are as a human being, your principles, and what you want to live by going forward. At this point in my career, it’s not so much about the money. It’s not so much about the extra-curricular things. It’s like, OK, ‘where am I happy? Where am I most comfortable? Who is going to give me that intimacy where I would love to grow as a human being every single day? I spend more time with my teammates than I do with my family.”
What’s better than being in Boston? This year has felt different because of the environment that has been created for me and by me. Going to the new practice facility--everything--there’s nothing like playing in TD. Seriously.”
The media will continue to pester Kyrie Irving about his flat world comments and he’ll continue to entertain them, but know that what he’s searching for is ironically a well-rounded place to play out the rest of his prime.