Kyrie Irving is back on the court for the Brooklyn Nets, and with that comes his appointment-viewing interviews with the media. After the Nets lost to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Irving told reporters that the , signaling some frustration he might be feeling about how this season is going. The Nets are obviously not in the place they hoped to be at the start of the year, sitting at 18-22 on the season, but signing Irving and Kevin Durant was never about winning a championship this year.
Still, though, Irving is clearly frustrated with how this season has unraveled in Brooklyn, and after Friday's practice, the former NBA champion responded to the criticism he's received for his comments, and his history of being considered an inadequate leader.
Irving's full comments via SNY:
"I think that it's probably a tell-tale sign of the career I've had, some of the moves that I've made individually and coming to different environments and organizations, and at the end of the day I always say it's an entertainment league. We're very drama-filled, everything regurgitates on all these media platforms which is part of our society, I can't really do anything about it, except be a pillar in our locker room, be very communicative and when I'm out there with the guys just impact winning.
"That's what it really comes down to, it's not like I'm an ass---- yelling at everybody in the freaking locker room all the time. You hear all these stories, and at the end of the day my name was given to me by my grandfather, I'm very thankful for it, but it's in a lot of people's mouths all the time. It is what it is, I've earned that respect in terms of how great I am as a player, and there's still more goals I want to accomplish in this league. I can't do it without improving an organization and winning a championship and that's what it comes down to.
"I'm going to continue to push, I'm going to continue to demand greatness out of myself and demand greatness out of my teammates and we go from there. If it's harsh as a leader or too much for anybody, you're not in our locker room -- stay the f--- out. It's as simple as that."
Irving is nothing if not consistent. It's as if he learned nothing from the fiasco in Boston last year where he continued to call out his teammates. But here we are again, Irving doubling down on his comments, and not owning up that it was the wrong thing to share with the media. The overarching theme here, though, like much of Irving's comments in the past, is his focus on his own goals, and what he wants to accomplish. Nowhere in there does he mention the actual team he's playing with on a nightly basis. He did the other night, only to mention that they'll focus on "moving pieces and everything else, as an organization down the line in the summer."
That doesn't exactly inspire teammates to want to fight with you night in and night out. It also doesn't sway anyone's opinion on thinking Irving is a bad leader, although from the sounds of his comments it appears he doesn't worry too much about what outsiders think of his leadership style. Either way, this season has been disastrous for the Nets and throwing in comments like this from one of your star players certainly doesn't help.