Kyrie Irving had a spectacular showing in Game 1 of the Brooklyn Nets’ Eastern Conference playoff outing against the Boston Celtics. While his off-the-court theatrics left something to be desired, on the court – he was stellar.
When it was all said and done, Irving finished with 39 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, five rebounds, six assists, four steals, one block, and three steals in 42 minutes of action.
Irving looked so good, in fact, that it prompted his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, LeBron James, to send out this tweet:
Damn shame he ain’t Top 75! 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/jQyMvd0qXO
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 17, 2022
As a reminder, this past season the NBA named it’s 75 best players of all time. Irving was suspiciously omitted from the list. Various rationales were offered, but folks couldn’t help but notice that some of Irving’s contemporaries who hadn’t won a championship, like Damian Lillard, seemed to make it.
Then the drama intensified when eagle-eyed fans at home thought they noticed something strange on the NBA.com website. It seemed like one day, Irving was on the list; then when his infamous COVID vaccine drama erupted, suddenly he wasn’t.
Archive of the page:
“Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving has been named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team of the top 75 players in the league’s history.”https://t.co/tqlvgSxHqK
— Nick (@nickp2p) October 24, 2021
Wow it is true. Kyrie was in NBA’s top 75 but removed. Screw the NBA, screw them. pic.twitter.com/By6pYb82HY
— Andy (@Badandy538_) October 24, 2021
HUGE CONSPIRACY THEORY: If you Google ‘Nets NBA 75’ the first result is a page from the Nets website with a link to a video. The page doesn’t work.
WAS KYRIE IN A DRAFT VERSION OF THE LIST THEN PULLED DUE TO THIS SEASON?! pic.twitter.com/8moHJ6SqPA
— x – UK Nets Fans (@UKNetsFans) October 24, 2021
Obviously no one will ever know the truth about Irving’s Top 75 status, but James’ tweet on Sunday (which was notable given the weird exchange they had the last time they played each other) definitely revived the conspiracy theory to some degree.
Moreover, fans at home had strong reactions to the Lakers star’s core message:
Kyrie over AD, Lillard, Russ, Harden & Carmelo https://t.co/HInMCuz86T
— Boss (@ElBoss_PR) April 18, 2022
It can’t be his game that got him left off top 75. From a talent standpoint I will argue Kyrie is top 50! Yeah, I said it! https://t.co/ZbvgKhBkgm
— Live FB:106255688362321 | (@WeTalkinSports2) April 18, 2022
That list is irrelevant if he’s not on it.. https://t.co/7Dy5YHhmKp
— dwight b (@dnice1967) April 18, 2022
It will be interesting to see how Irving and the Nets play from here on out.
Obviously if they bow out in the first round to the Celtics, it won’t do much to bolster the 30-year-old’s claim to all-time great status.
Trey Lance already showing bad decision-making skills. https://t.co/tdbtucPigV
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 18, 2022
But if Irving can lead Brooklyn back, get out of the first round, and them make a legitimate run at another championship – his legacy at that point would be beyond reproach.