1. I think Kyrie Irving is a good person. I think Kyrie Irving is a bad teammate. Or, more precisely, he’s just a bad employee. Both things can be true.
If you google “Kyrie Irving Charity” you will see a plethora of stories about Irving’s continued generosity.
Last March, he donated $ 323,000 to Feeding America. He also partnered with a food rescue organization to donate 250,000 meals to New Yorkers at the start of the pandemic.
Irving also reportedly donated $ 1.5 million to WNBA players who pulled out of the bubble last season. He paid the tuition fees for nine Lincoln University students. He bought a house for George Floyd’s family.
Because of all of this, I hate the narrative that Irving is a villain or a selfish person. Kyrie Irving the person is not these things.
However, as far as Kyrie Irving the basketball player is concerned, that’s another story and we have to make that distinction.
For a moment forget about Kyrie’s problem with the vaccination warrant and her bizarre statements over the past two days. Kyrie Irving, the basketball player, lost me many years ago when he wanted to leave Cleveland because he didn’t want to play with LeBron James.
If you’re an athlete in any sport and don’t want to play with the best player in the league – and maybe ever – this is a major red flag.
Kyrie Irving saying he couldn’t play with LeBron James anymore was all I needed to know about basketball player Kyrie Irving.
Now Irving is ready to ditch his Nets teammates because he says he’s protesting the vaccination warrants.
He took to Instagram Live to explain his position in a rambling dialogue that was filled with inconsistencies.
The inconsistency actually started on Tuesday when clearly someone from the Irving camp, but identified as “an anonymous source,” said Athleticism‘s Shams Charania that Irving wanted to be “a voice for the voiceless”. The voice of the voiceless had remained completely silent until he hit Instagram Live around 10:30 p.m. last night.
Irving also said, “No one is going to hijack my voice. No one is going to take away the power that I have to talk about these things. Don’t think I’m retiring. Do not think that I will give up this game for a mandate of vaccination or to remain unvaccinated. Don’t believe that bullshit, man. Be aware of what is being said before you even have the chance to step on the podium and speak for myself.
Once again, Irving is the one who chose to remain silent on this matter for weeks. Irving is the one who refused to talk about being sidelined because he refused to get the shot in a recent media session using the ridiculous “It’s a personal choice” line.
Thanks to social media platforms, no athlete these days can ever complain about being silenced. They can get any message across to the public at any time.
Irving also said of the vaccination warrants: “It wasn’t a problem until the start of the season. It wasn’t something I had planned to come.
New York City’s vaccination mandate was announced in mid-August and went into effect on September 13. If you didn’t see it coming, it’s because you didn’t pay attention. And that’s literally a pre-season problem because THE SEASON HASN’T EVEN BEGIN YET.
Irving also complained that he was targeted because of his unvaccinated status.
Two weeks ago, 95% of NBAs were vaccinated. Irving is part of a small pool and is the biggest name for that pool. And he plays in a city where there is a warrant. That’s why it gets all the attention. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.
Personally, I would like Irving to say, “I am against vaccination warrants and because of that I am going to retire.” Instead, the situation lingers and stays in the news because it’s all up in the air. If there weren’t any teammates who had to rely on Irving, that wouldn’t be a problem. But like it or not, there are 14 other people, not counting the coaches and the front office folks, who need to know if they can count on Irving.
Basketball isn’t Kyrie Irving’s top priority in life and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. There’s also nothing wrong with saying that Kyrie Irving isn’t someone you would want to be on your team in any way.
2. A brand new SI media podcast dropped off this morning and he has two guests.
The first is Sports business journal journalist John Ourand. Ourand talks about the fallout from the Jon Gruden email controversy and ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s journalistic ethics questioned in the fallout. We also discussed ESPN’s new deal with the NFL to broadcast a wildcard game on Monday nights and how Peyton and Eli Manning’s alternate broadcast fits in. Ourand also informs us of the state of affairs regarding the future of the NFL Sunday Ticket contract and whether DirecTV is over.
After Ourand, Alan Sepinwall, the chief TV critic of Rolling stone, joined the podcast to talk about The Many Saints of Newark, Squid game, the new Apple TV + show from Jon Stewart, Seinfeldsyndication offers and much more.
The podcast ends with the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, Jimmy and Sal Licata of WFAN and SNY talk about Jimmy trying to book Larry David for the SI media podcast, Sal’s NFL Sunday goes bankrupt and much more.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher.
You can also watch the SI media podcast on Youtube.
3. No one – no one – had a better view of the Jon Gruden email scandal than Chargers coach Brandon Staley. It’s so refreshing to see someone these days who really get it.
4. Shaq used Stephen A. Smith’s birthday today as an excuse to roast the ESPN host about his hairline.
5. It only took one night for the NHL’s return to ESPN to pay off for the league.
6. Charles Barkley joined the NHL team on TNT for his first episode last night, and the former NBA star was a real mess trying to figure out how to put on goalie gear and it was awesome.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: The official trailer for the new season of Calm your enthusiasm, from October 24, is out.
Make sure you catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts and consult the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina the Apple, Spotify Where Stapler. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.