Kyrie Irving has decided he is above talking to the media. The NBA believes otherwise.
After the former Celtics guard was fined $25,000 Thursday by the NBA because he has refused to speak to the media during the preseason, Irving took to social media to respond, and ended his post by writing “I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”
The NBA also fined his current team, the Brooklyn Nets, $25,000.
Last week, Irving released a statement through his publicist to address his media silence, saying he wanted to ensure that his message was conveyed properly.
“I am committed to show up to work everyday, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself,” Irving said.
“Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”
The publicist clarified that the statement didn’t mean Irving didn’t intend to speak to the media. However, he still hasn’t, even though the Nets have had availabilities, all being held via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic, on every day but one since then.
Irving began his latest post with a quote from Malcolm X.
“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m fror (sic) Justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
He then followed up with a quote of his own.
“I pray we utilize the “fine money” for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently. (I am) I am here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.”
Irving developed a reputation for being a mercurial figure, something Celtics fans became all to familiar with from his two seasons in Boston.
On a podcast recorded before he joined the Celtics, he stated he believed the Earth is flat, then went on to say that he believed the Federal Reserve played a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and that the CIA tried to kill reggae star Bob Marley.
He later said that his statement about the Earth being flat was “an exploitation tactic.”
Entering his second year with the Celtics, he announced to season ticket-holders in October, 2018 that he planned on re-signing a maximum contract with Boston the following summer.
That was followed by a Nike commercial filmed at TD Garden and released in November, in which he is playing one-on-one with his father, Drederick, while Kyrie does a voice-over. “He’s the reason I wear No. 11,” Kyrie said of his father. Then, with the cameras panning to the rafters, Kyrie added, “I want to be the reason no one else will.”
But it became apparent that Irving was ready to move on, and he was seen having an animated discussion with Kevin Durant at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, seemingly planting the seed for the two to unite the following offseason by signing as free agents with the Nets.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.