Kyrie Irving’s Media Ban Hurting Only Kyrie Irving

I don’t blame Kyrie Irving for not wanting to talk to the media. I wouldn’t want to, either. Most people don’t.

It can be tiresome for an NBA coach or athlete. The questions can be ridiculous. You never know whom to trust. 

Frankly, I think the NBA overdoes it on media availability. Players and coaches are instructed to be available before games, after games, after practice and after morning shootarounds. Coaches have to talk to sideline reporters after quarters

It’s too much. No one gets any real answers or insights when it’s just a constant sea of chatter.

But I don’t make the rules, and neither does Kyrie Irving. So guess what you do in that instance? You just act like a grownup and deal with it.

Irving is failing greatly in that department. And for what? What’s the point in refusing to do your job? Because the media can twist and turn and totally reshape what you say?

Well, of course it can. It doesn’t always do that. In fact, I’d say more often than not, reporters don’t mess up your quotes. You say them, the media writes them and you don’t like the way it sounds. I’d say that is probably Irving’s issue. He doesn’t like the reaction to what he says. Then he has to blame someone else.

That doesn’t make Irving a bad person, but it sure is a bad look.

Irving and his Brooklyn Nets were each fined $25,000 for his refusal to talk to reporters during the NBA’s Media Week. You have probably seen Irving’s response to the fine by now. If not, just know that it ends this way: “I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”

Irving was actually using that quote from Malcolm X to illustrate his own point.

But what Irving doesn’t understand is when he uses the word “pawns,” he’s not referring to the media. He’s referring to fans. Reporters are asking questions so they can pass along his thoughts to paying customers.

Yes, I know. The players have their own social media channels. Some even have their own media companies. So they don’t need traditional media as much as the old days. And honestly, I think that’s great.

But there are also questions fans want answered. Simple things. Like how Irving feels about the James Harden trade rumors, or how he feels about playing for Steve Nash. What are his goals for the season? Is it championship or bust?

That’s hardly tabloid journalism, and Irving shouldn’t be afraid to answer these types of questions. But he isn’t likely to do so on, say, Twitter. 

I was a beat writer covering the Cleveland Cavaliers when they drafted Irving with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. I was also doing some television work and conducted a one-on-one interview with Irving early in his first training camp. We always got along just fine. A lot of other media members seem to find him condescending, a little bit snobby. He’s never been anything but polite to me. I like him.

So this isn’t based on anger or telling Irving what he should do based on my job. This is entirely based on his job.

He is paid to play basketball and, as annoying as it can be, to talk to the media. That’s it. That’s his job.

What doesn’t make sense is why he’s making it so much more complicated than that. And no one but Kyrie Irving looks bad in the process.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

3 Comments

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  1. Personally, I support any player who decides the media ain’t worth her/his time.
    For far too long, that’s exactly true! They’re only looking to jab you in the ribs or check your PC ability.
    Until we get some actual journalists, with actual questions about things that matter, let ’em sit around and politically correct each other to death…

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