I never liked Kyrie Irving. Sure, I recognized his prodigious talent, but he didn’t play for the Knicks. Also, he went to Duke and he said some crap about the Earth being flat. And while I know he would fit perfectly on a Knicks team that has lacked an above-average point guard since time immemorial, I’ve always been wary of his history of knee problems.
But that was before. I now freely admit I was wrong. Kyrie Irving is amazing, and I hope he becomes a Knick. The change has been slow in coming, but now it rolls upon me like a tidal wave. Kyrie is the best. If I had to rank my three favorite Knicks of the 2018-19 season, I’d probably say: 1. Mitchell Robinson, 2. Pablo Prigioni, 3. Kyrie Irving.
What has Kyrie done to earn such lofty praise? As with every Knick since the beginning of time, one must be judged not only by what they do to lift up the Knicks as what they do to drag down their eternal nemesis, the Boston Celtics. And boy howdy, is Irving pissing off folks in Beantown at the moment, especially since the “I don’t owe anybody shit” comments which just so happened to come on the heels of the Knicks clearing two max salary cap slots in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Just look at the recent actions of Celtics fans’ old reliable herald, Bill Simmons. He told Kyrie to “shut up and play basketball” on a recent podcast. And this recent blurb from Simmons’ website, The Ringer, though written by Justin Verrier, had to come with a seal of approval from the big boss:
Kyrie’s Boston run was fun while it lasted—expect for all of the metal going in and out of his leg and the denial of science and the recent ham-fisted motivational tactics. It’s hard not to read deeply into the Celtics’ recent, Irvingless trouncing of the Sixers’ souped-up lineup. Objectively, they are at their worst when he’s not out there. Subjectively, things just seem to fit better when he’s not out there. So even though Irving’s individual game may be hitting a peak—his assist, rebound, and shooting numbers are all career highs—he won’t get top-10 credit until it coalesces with similar jumps from Boston’s deep bench of young talent. In other words, he’ll be a perfect Knick.
My word, that paragraph contains enough salt to top a truckload of margarita glasses. Ignore the facts — Kyrie is a cancer and he sucks and he and the suck-ass Knicks deserve each other!
And Kyrie isn’t slowing down, Friends; in fact, he’s just getting started. All-Star weekend was a veritable smorgasbord of clips of Kyrie palling around with certified futureKnick Kevin Durant. You better believe the Internet noticed.
Knicks fans wtf is this?? LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO KNICKS FANS ARE THE WORST BRUH I SWEAR pic.twitter.com/rzGssEBC8P— OSN (@OprahSide) February 18, 2019
To top things off, Kyrie was caught in the hallway with KD, saying something that sounded suspiciously like “two max slots.”
Kyrie didn’t just tell Durant “two max slots,” right? Right??? pic.twitter.com/C6Z2sEKMHz— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) February 19, 2019
Kyrie’s actions make little sense unless this is all part of some guerrilla campaign of anti-Celtics performance art. Why else would he go out of his way to ruin the chemistry on his own team on its way to a possible Finals run?
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Kyrie will leave Boston. The NBA works according to a certain kind of logic, and that logic dictates in this case that the most talented players go to the franchise that gives them the most money and best shot at winning titles. That would most certainly be the Celtics. They’re run “the right way”, with their proven GM, their certified genius head coach and their oodles of young talent and draft assets. The smart money says Kyrie and GM Danny Ainge will mend fences, and he will sign a hefty deal to stay wearing the color of boogers.
Being a Knicks fan, however, means never placing your faith on the smart money. The Knicks plan involves luring multiple superstars, perhaps through collusion and back-alley deals and all sorts of shady shit. For that plan to succeed, they need to find at least one star willing to leave a far more comfortable situation, to say, in essence, “Screw your money and your competence ... I’m signing with the Knicks!” Based on what I’ve seen this season, Kyrie Irving might just be that kind of guy, the kind who wants to watch the NBA burn. Even if he isn’t, he’s caused the Celtics and their fans no end of headaches, inspiring the kind of Boston temper tantrums that warm my cold New York heart through yet another lost season. Kyrie Irving might never wear the orange and blue, but in my heart, he’s an honorary New York Knick.