ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith issued a bold challenge to Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving this week.
That challenge? Retire.
On Wednesday’s edition of First Take, an exasperated Smith took Irving to the woodshed after he was deemed ‘unlikely’ to play in any of his team’s games this week.
“I think Kyrie Irving should retire. I think he should announce his retirement today,” Smith said.
“Clearly, you don’t want to play basketball bad enough. … Kyrie Irving has not prioritized basketball. I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play altogether, I’m saying he hasn’t prioritized it. How fair is that to the Brooklyn Nets?”
Stephen A Smith “Kyrie Irving should retire” pic.twitter.com/Xrq3xVazp7
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 13, 2021
Irving has missed Brooklyn’s last four games for what the team has officially described as ‘personal’ reasons. Despite the cloak and daggers, the reason for his absence emerged shortly thereafter.
A few days ago, Kevin Durant came out and offered his full support to Irving.
“I won’t speak on Kyrie,” he said. “I’ll let him do that for himself. I’m sure you guys will see him soon whenever he comes back. We support him 100 percent and pray for the best.”
When Irving is actually playing basketball, he is a tremendous talent. So far this year he is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Nobody was happier about Alabama’s championship win. https://t.co/ix1ajw8ZbX
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 12, 2021
Unfortunately, along with all that production comes a series of headaches that will likely ultimately cost Brooklyn any shot the team had at an NBA title.
One way or another, the franchise and Irving will need to settle this matter. Because things cannot continue on this path. A resolution must be reached sooner rather than later.
Will it? Time will tell.