Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets reacts during the second half of their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center on October 23, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets reacts during the second half of their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center on October 23, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

Kyrie Irving, who missed Wednesday’s return to Boston with a “shoulder” injury, heard TD Garden’s taunts loud and clear.

Even with Irving not in town for what was the most anticipated game of the season on the Boston parquet, the boos and jeers for Irving were thunderous, with a booming “Kyrie sucks” chant headlining a Kemba-dominated 121-110 win.

And Irving didn’t like it one bit.

From Irving’s Instagram story:

It happens all the time and tonight just shows how sports/entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive. It’s one big show that means very, very little in the real world that most people live in because there are actually things that matter going on within it. Like figuring out a life that means more to you than a damn ball going into a hoop, or learning how to grow up being in a fish bowl of a society based on your popularity level as a person, or even dealing with becoming the leader of your family after someone’s passing and not knowing how to deal with life after it happens. [But] this game of sports entertainment matters more than someone’s mental health and well being, right? Or the real life things that happen to people everyday but they still have to perform for the NBA and its fans? Right? It’s all about doing it for the fans and organization that love you so much? Think again, it’s a game, and it’s promoted as a fandom experience for ticket buyers and viewers at home, while defacing who people truly are as people. Then spat out all over these media networks as valuable food for thought while they actually believe that their opinions hold weight to real cultural leaders that speak and act for change. One big gimmick with some smoke and mirrors! I’ll always be the one that takes the stand and speaks on the truth every time though. A purposeful and spiritually led life will always be bigger and more meaningful than any sports arena or any entertainment space. This game isn’t meant to be controlled and shown as a drama, it’s meant to show the love. Love for the art is the only damn thing that keeps the purist people in this giant sports/entertainment circus. Don’t fall for the game that’s played in front of you as entertainment, it’ll never be as serious dealing with life.

I mean… what?

Reading Irving’s response is actually exhausting. It seriously took me four tries to get through this wall of text. And like most things Irving went fake-deep on during his two-year run in Boston, there’s almost nothing that actually means anything within this rambling, incoherent rant.

First of all, Irving takes this nonsensical high ground stance that games do not matter because he’s focused on life. If this is going to be our fallback for every topic, then just get rid of the NBA and organized sports. It’s all inconsequential when we have life, so stop playing games, return every dime of your $140 million contract and live an honest life farming corn or something.

But Irving cannot take this stance when he also tells us to care about him enough as a basketball player to buy his $140 sneakers and see his terrible, terrible movies. When you ask us to invite you into our lives as more than a basketball player, you lose this ability to say that everything’s based on just basketball and that it’s not that important in the grand scheme of life.

It’s also never been that simple. For anyone.

Irving then challenges everybody and essentially suggests that we’re in the wrong for disliking him because everything that happened last year was because of the death of his grandfather. With all due respect, everybody has loved ones who have passed. And the bad news is that every single one of our relatives will pass, and then we will, too. (Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!) The order is subject to change.

The death of a loved one doesn’t mean you’re free to be an obviously toxic, volatile person.

Now, mourning is not a one size fits all process. (I mean, just keep in mind that Irving wasn’t even the only Celtic to deal with personal tragedy, as Marcus Smart’s mother sadly lost her battle with cancer just before the start of the 2018-19 season.)

But for Irving to act like he was forced to play basketball through this is confusing, and the idea that the Celtics would not have allowed him to take as much time as he needed or get a regular-season reset, is disingenuous at best.

The Celtics were more than happy to give Irving all the rest days he wanted last year, and last year’s roster was deep enough where the Green would have accepted Irving returning home and getting back to his roots if it meant making him happy for the long run. Hell, the Celtics did almost everything else possible to make Irving like Boston enough to commit to staying in The Hub on a long-term deal.

But Irving chose to play through this confusing time in his life (he wasn’t confused enough to obviously talk with Kevin Durant about a team-up) so to look back on it and say a failure to perform through tragedy is why Celtics’ fans turned on him and why they’re in the wrong with their decision to boo him is straight-up insulting. And rooted in delusion.

Irving fancies himself as the one that will speak on truths, but allow me: Boston fans dislike you because you lied to them. You lied to them. Instead of just avoiding the question of a long-term commitment to the Celtics, you decided to be the one to tell them that you were going to stay. You then filmed a commercial saying you wanted to be the last player to wear No. 11. That would indicate that you wanted to retire a Celtic, or at least be here long enough to warrant such an honor. You did this.

You then quit on the team, and turned around and told the Barclays Center crowd that you were always coming to Brooklyn.

You. Did. This.

You can say that ‘things change’ and that’s fine, but you’re allowed to get called on your lies and those things, which you decided to make insanely public (which, again, was your choice) changing. That, to Irving’s point, is life. To suggest that it’s not shows Irving’s true disconnect with real life, as if your all-world skills of “putting the ball in a damn hoop” absolve you from being held to the same standard as every other person who has ever been fortunate enough to live “life.”

Also: They were just going to boo you, man. And they still will. Just even louder now.

It’s not all that deep. And nobody should know that better than you, Kyrie.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.