Kyrie Irving's 'First Take' was worth second look

The Washington Post

If you have closely followed this offseason's Kyrie Irving saga — which wound up with him moving from Cleveland to Boston and shaking up the NBA's Eastern Conference — Irving's philosophical, didactic and occasionally contentious appearance on ESPN's "First Take" Monday morning may have been subtly revealing.

"The actual story line of everything that was created from a variety of sources, a variety of people — whether it be from my circle, whether it be from anywhere else — the last person that everybody kind of forgot about was me," Irving said. "I didn't say a damn word. ... I don't really have an ego. I have a presence and aura about me that's very reality-based."

Surely only someone without an ego would be so in touch with his or her presence and aura. If that sounds like a bit of word rubble to you, you're not alone.

And so at various points during this appearance, the program's hosts — Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith — attempted to pin down Irving on some specifics of why exactly he wanted out of Cleveland, and what he meant when he talked about perfecting his craft in another city, and why he was moving away from LeBron James. That didn't go too well.

"Now you're answering cryptically a lot of the time, and in kind of generalities, and that makes me think that maybe there's something personal going on behind the scenes that you can't or don't want to talk about," Kellerman said. "If that's the case, that is perfectly fair. 'Guys, there's stuff behind the scenes, it's none of your business,' and I respect that. So if you're saying that, fine. If you're not saying that, then I'd like to know what you have to say about the idea that perfecting your craft seems to be, at this moment, put ahead of the pursuit of championships?"

"I'm sorry, Max, that absolutely made no sense to me," Irving replied.

Kellerman also pushed him about his relationship with James.

"If you're playing on the Chicago Bulls, it was about Michael Jordan," he said. "If you're playing on the Cleveland Cavaliers right now, it's going to be about the relationship of the second-best player on the team to LeBron James. Am I wrong in that assessment?"

"I just think that you just care entirely too much," Irving responded.

Kellerman also pushed him about his relationship with James.

"I just think that you just care entirely too much," Irving responded. "I made the decision as a man, and as a man over there Max Kellerman, just respect it and leave it alone."

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