Former Boston Celtics star, Kyrie Irving had a few things to say at the Nets Media Day about his part in the disappointing 2018-19 season.
Former Boston Celtics star, Kyrie Irving, had a lot to say at the Brooklyn Nets Media Day. I had previously vowed to leave behind Kyrie’s part in the disruptions of his last season in Boston – barring any new happening or information. Well, Irving was verbally active during the media session, and I am not buying what he had to say on the major reason for his lackluster leadership or departure from Boston. Let me start with Tim Sheils’ take on part of Irving’s speech:
Isaiah Thomas lost his younger sister in a tragic car accident and he went on to put a team on his back on the way to an ECF appearance. Kyrie Irving’s grandfather died of old age and he gave up on an entire season and his team. Hardship truly shows a person’s mettle
— Tim Sheils (@ReturnofTheBoi) September 28, 2019
Kyrie Irving explains in-depth what went wrong last year after announcing that he planned on staying in Boston pic.twitter.com/e3ybU2Y9be
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 27, 2019
The following excerpt is via NBC Sports Boston, and it certainly appears that Kyrie is indicating that the death of his grandfather precipitated what we viewed as poor camaraderie with his teammates. What do you think?
“Basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me,” Irving said at media day. “There was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year. Didn’t allow anyone to get close to me in that instance, and it really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or get therapy to deal with somebody that close to me dying. I’ve never dealt with anything like that (death of grandfather). So, for me, I responded in ways that are uncharacteristic and, like I said, I had to acknowledge that fact.”
I doubt that anybody enjoyed watching Kyrie operate on the parquet as much as me. I never questioned his skills, and he is exciting to watch. I have no question that Kyrie had a very close relationship with his grandfather, but I feel this is a bailout by him. Returning to Sheils’ tweet, let me say that aside from writing about the Boston Celtics, I am a 75-year-old great grandfather whose very ill grand grand daughter met Isaiah Thomas in an elevator the day after his electrifying performance against the Washington Wizards. This is what I wrote:
“On May 3, 2017, the day after he destroyed the Washington Wizards with an astounding 53-point game, Isaiah Thomas was in a medical facility elevator with two women he didn’t know. One was my daughter, Lisa, and the other was my grand daughter, Courtney. Courtney was born on May 1, 1994, one day before the birth of Isaiah’s sister, Chyna, who was killed in an auto accident on April 15th. Courtney was there for some very uncomfortable medical tests and a meeting with a team that would perform and monitor her inevitable double-lung transplant in an attempt to prolong her life.”
My sister, Sue, died at the age of 19, and I still carry the grief from her death. My 25-year-old grand daughter clings to life at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston as I write this. As Shields indicates, there is a vast difference in reaction to the death of an older person as opposed to the grief at the passing of a youngster. Isaiah’s reaction to the sudden-and-tragic death of Chyna was to put his team on his back and give one of the most-memorable and gritty performances I have ever witnessed on the hardwood. Irving used the death of his beloved, but old, grand father as an excuse for a disappointing season and a change-of-heart about staying in Boston.
Last season’s disappointments for Celtics fans were the fault of many within the Celtics organization. I promised to leave Kyrie’s participation in that – and his departure – behind. But his Media Day chant just doesn’t sit well with me. There was no substance to his reasons for his behavior or departure. He is off to a poor start with his new team.
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center