Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, and Reggie Miller are just a few of the former athletes to stand out against Kyrie Irving's dangerous, ignorant, and unapologetic remarks. Once again, he's mistaken freedom of speech with spreading hatred, disinformation, and already-debunked theories.
“When you’re as great at basketball as he is, people listen to you," Shaq said. "It hurts me that we have to sit up here and talk about stuff that divides us. We have to sit up here and answer for what this idiot has done. I stand for equality of all people.”
Irving refused to acknowledge his mistake over and over. The Brooklyn Nets had no choice but to suspend him without pay for at least five games, and that's when the PR team took over and released a vague, empty apology full of clichés. It was too little, too late.
NBA News: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Explains Why 'Idiot' Kyrie Irving Will Never Change
That's why NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn't waste another chance to take a big shot at Irving, one of his favorite targets as of late. The Lakers great and well-known activist claims there's just no hope for Irving anymore:
"Irving has been defiant about his postings. You can read his long, rambling, at times contradictory defense here. Mostly he reveals his lack of awareness of how history works. It’s not an all-you-can-eat buffet from which you can pluck just the dishes you like without any understanding of the context.
The Nets finally forced Irving to acknowledge the damage he’s done and donate $500,000 to groups opposing hate speech. In his statement you can almost hear his arm being twisted: “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day. I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility." But there was no explicit apology—which tells us everything about what he really believes.
Honestly, there’s little hope that he will change because he’s insulated by fame and money and surrounded by yes-people. There is no motivation to learn how to distinguish propaganda from facts. All that’s left is for the world to decide how it should respond to him."
Irving's desire to be the smartest man in the room has ostracized him, and not in the way he claims. He handles himself like a martyr, a misunderstood genius whose words are always twisted and taken out of context.
The truth is that Kyrie was exposed as a faux intellectual yet again. Either he DID watch that poorly-produced, anti-Semitic movie and thought the facts vomited there were true — and didn't even bother fact-checking, or he DIDN'T watch the movie and just promoted a hatred-filled 3-and-a-half flick with fabricated Hitler quotes without even knowing what he was promoting.
But that's not even the bigger problem here. It's not like one can have different thoughts or ideas — as wrong and hatefuul as they could be. The issue here is Kyrie constantly trying to outsmart people who are clearly smarter and more prepared than him just for the sake of being a guy with views.
Enough of playing victim, running in circles, and claiming the media is trying to dehumanize you. You're not innocent, you don't get to play this card here. At least be courageous enough to own your hateful, wrong views instead of constantly backpedaling when it hurts your pocket.