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Kyrie Irving says flat-Earth claim was an ‘exploitation tactic’

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving during media day Monday.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe staff
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving during media day Monday.

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving isn’t backing off his claim that the Earth is flat.

Asked by the jokers on 98.5’s “Toucher & Rich” show if he was just trolling people when he said the Earth isn’t round, Irving wouldn’t play ball. What the former Cavaliers star did say is he wants people to think for themselves.

“Look, look. Here it is. All I want to do is be able to have that open conversation,” Irving told the radio hosts during Celtics media day. “It was all an exploitation tactic. It literally spun the world — your guy’s world — it spun it into a frenzy and proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works. It created a division . . . let all these people threw tomatoes at me or have somebody think I’m somehow this different intellectual person because I believe that the Earth is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that.

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“It became like, because I think different, does that knock my intellectual capacity or the fact that I can think different things than you can?” Irving said. “That was the intent behind it. Do your own research, don’t come to me and ask me. At the end of the day, you’re going to feel and believe the way you want to feel. But don’t knock my life over that.”

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What’s this all about?

In a podcast last year with fellow NBA players Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, Irving said this:

“Is the Earth flat or round? — I think you need to do research on it. Ultimately . . . it’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us. . . . For what I’ve known for as many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but I mean if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that — can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this?’’