Give Kyrie A Break
Boston fandom hates Kyrie Irving right now, but I don’t.
I’m here to tell you the 11 reasons why Kyrie deserves a break:
#1. Kyrie is human.
Humans have this thing called ego. While some ego gets rewarded, too much ego can destroy a team dynamic…
Kyrie is super self-focused at times, and I hear his ego triggering the part of everyone else that judges their egos.
To those pissed at Kyrie, I want to acknowledge your birthright: you have an ego… and it’s ok.
#2. Kyrie is misunderstood.
Everyone is selling stories, but until I read Kyrie’s essay in the Players’ Tribune, I’m not buying into any narrative unless it’s straight from the source.
#3. Kyrie takes responsibility.
He acknowledged the need to improve his leadership to better serve the team… to not just anyone, but to LeBron James. This public acknowledgment shows both maturity and awareness.
He knows his job. The point guard’s job is to lead the team… and it’s an area of improvement for him. I intuitively know words were exchanged in the locker room, player-to-player, and Kyrie feels the weight of his responsibility.
#4. Kyrie is his own worst critic.
As much as we can berate the guy for talking about himself, he really is a perfectionist when it comes to basketball. He doesn’t take the time to celebrate the gameplay of his teammates because he rarely celebrates his own accomplishments.
He loses sight of how critical he’s being: to the team and to himself.
#5. Kyrie has a lot to learn.
When a young player is arrogant, we apologize for him. Blame it on youth, mentor him, and give him opportunities to demonstrate growth.
When a veteran player is arrogant, we get angry at him. Blame it on character, shame him, and ostracize him out of sheer emotional upset.
When I hear arrogance, I refrain from blame. I see it as a sign of ignorance. Not seeing the whole of the parts means it’s time to step into someone else’s shoes and develop your awareness.
#6. Kyrie fights back the pain of loss.
As much as Kyrie is drawing attention right now, he was like this long before he came to the Celtics. He’s always had resistance to loss.
You could read him as selfish, rebellious, unfit… but I’m reading him as wounded. He lost his mom young. Read his bio, and you’ll understand.
#7. Kyrie signed up for great expectations.
Boston wants a banner, and Kyrie knew this when he came here. Whether or not we expected to lose this early, he has always been the moving target because he represented hope.
#8. Kyrie and mainstream media don’t vibe.
Imagine being watched for 48 minutes and analyzed for every move. Then the microphone is in your face.
I’m in awe of athletes for their ability to handle this sort of pressure. Game after game, coming up with off-the-cuff answers. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Kyrie is compatible with mainstream media.
His voice is counterculture.
#9. Kyrie is off-beat.
He’s different. He’s not like everyone else on his team. In fact, he’s not like everyone else in the NBA. That’s his wiring. He thinks differently, and he feels frustrated as a result of not being primed to conform to systems.
And yet, he signed a contract to conform to the Boston system. It was a good enough deal for him, and largely a decision by other stakeholders in business operations.
There are other people I’d like to hear from to explain where we find ourselves right now. Another year, another missed opportunity.
#10. Kyrie is a free spirit.
Boston and Kyrie are spiritually misaligned… the spiritual tension isn’t new.
He cannot he contained, and that’s tough on a city like Boston who values loyalty. As much as we can get upset with his comments, how did we expect to cage a free spirit?
#11. Kyrie plays against himself.
He doesn’t think he’s better than everyone… in fact, he’s too caught up in his own struggle. In Kyrie’s mind… It’s Kyrie versus himself.
He’s a student of self-mastery, so naturally, his critique of his play (individually and collectively) can be upsetting to hear… because then we stop and realize…
We all can do better.