Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA.
The last year has only increased this reality, with the star point guard circulating in the news almost daily. Whether it be due to his ineligibility for much of last season, or the drama surrounding Brooklyn’s offseason, there have been consistent stories with Kyrie Irving at the center of them.
Naturally, these developments have created a narrative surrounding Irving that labels him as selfish, unpredictable and even toxic. While his unpredictability is indisputable at this point, former teammate LeBron James believes the star point guard is misunderstood.
Kyrie Irving recently joined Uninterrupted’s “The Shop” for an episode that addressed several different topics. In a Tweet reacting to the episode, LeBron James said, “He’s truly so misunderstood! I love seeing his growth as well throughout the years! Always believed and knew he was so much more and deeper than just a phenomenal basketball player!”
Can Kyrie change the narrative?
While Kyrie Irving is likely misunderstood to an extent, much of the criticism he receives is justified. Some analysts undoubtedly go overboard, but the concerns regarding his availability and commitment were significant enough to deter the Brooklyn Nets from offering him a long-term extension this summer.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Lakers were widely known to be the only team with interest in trading for Irving, which is unprecedented for a player of his caliber.
All of this indicates that while Irving does receive harsh criticism from the media, team executives carry similar concerns. Despite this, the star point guard has an opportunity to change the narrative as soon as this season. All eyes will be on the Brooklyn Nets this year, and Kyrie Irving will be right in the center of that.
There was a point this summer where it seemed almost certain that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would be in different uniforms next season. With the Nets now primed to run it back, that duo has an immediate opportunity to prove doubters wrong. For Irving, his role in this will be much more focused on his commitment to the team than his play on the court.
When available, Irving has consistently been amongst the league’s top point guards. The only question mark has been that availability. If consistently on the floor and engaged this year, Kyrie Irving has an opportunity to quarterback a Nets team that many have written off.
If he and the team silence the critics, the narrative surrounding Irving’s career will almost certainly begin shifting in a direction more favorable for the star guard.