I want to preface everything I’m about to say by acknowledging the fact that Kyrie Irving is really fucking good at basketball.
He’s got one of the coldest handles in the history of the league, he’s an explosive scorer from damn near anywhere on the floor and it’s virtually impossible for defenders to stay in front of him. Because again, this dude is dope as shit on the basketball court.
But—and there’s always a but—he said something on the latest episode of Kevin Durant’s podcast, The ETCs, that under no circumstances can any sane individual rock with.
When asked who he’d trust to shoot with 10 seconds left on the clock, the 2016 NBA champ heaped praised upon Durant while unexpectedly throwing every last one of his previous teammates under the bus: “This is the first time in my career I can look down and be like that motherfucker can make that shot, too.”
I’m sorry. What?
First, let’s address the gargantuan six-foot-nine, 250-pound elephant in the room. Yes, Kyrie and LeBron’s love affair in Cleveland didn’t exactly end on the best of terms, but to sit here and act like King James hasn’t hit plenty of shots in the clutch, and/or make brilliant clutch plays, is completely and utterly fucking ridiculous.
At one point in his career, LeBron even held the undisputed title for the highest number of made field goals in clutch situations in the entire league. And even when you remove assists from the equation, he’s still the second most clutch player in the NBA—second only to teammate Anthony Davis, who unquestionably benefits from having LeBron on the floor during clutch situations; either to draw attention away from Davis or to make the perfect pass to seal the game. If that sounds familiar, it’s because LeBron did the exact same thing for your Black ass, Kyrie.
Twitter had some thoughts on this as well:
There’s also the fact that LeBron has made not one, but two Finals appearances since Kyrie dipped for Boston in 2017, while Kyrie has won a single playoff series. But speaking of Boston, if he wasn’t so preoccupied with stagnating the offense—and destroying the locker room—by being a fucking ball hog during his time there, he might remember that he had players like Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and future MVP Jayson Tatum at his disposal—all entirely capable of knocking down big shots in the clutch.
And before you leap to Kyrie’s defense and say, ‘But he saaaaaaaid the best available option!’ availability requires you to actually be on the floor, right?
Do you even wanna go there?
If the NBA was high school, Kyrie has skipped more classes than Ferris Bueller.
In nine seasons, Kyrie has played a grand total of 528 games—and a meager 20 of those are from this regrettable 2019-20 season. That means that out of a total of 728 possible games, he’s missed—*counts on fingers*—a lot of goddamn games. How can your “best option” only be available roughly 72 percent of the time throughout his entire career during the regular season?
And please don’t get me started on his absences in the playoffs.
So I’m the only one that remembers that this dude fractured his knee cap in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals? Or had a knee infection prior to Boston’s playoff push in 2018? And hell, he made the team chemistry so bad during Boston’s subsequent 2019 run that they probably wished his ass was hurt again.
There are also real questions about Kyrie’s ability to lead a team to even get to a position to have to make big shots in the clutch in the first place. His 2018-19 Celtics imploded—and at least two former teammates and a current Celtic pointed the finger at him as the culprit—and prior to the NBA’s restart, the Nets were better without him (22-22) than with him (8-12) on the floor. And when he was on the floor, sure, he put a nasty 27 points and 6 dimes a game, but at the expense of borderline All-Stars Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.
I don’t know who Kyrie pissed off in a past life—maybe it was Celtics President Danny Ainge—but his injury history is about as horrifying as seeing “written and directed by Tyler Perry.” So how good is your “best option” if they a) can’t even be relied upon to suit up and b) can’t lead you to the promised land because they’re always fucking hurt?
The best ability is availability.
Kyrie is a cold piece, but he’s buggin’ calling himself the best option for every team he’s played for.
But at least he gives us something to talk about.