Kyrie Irving opened up about several topics during a recent sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, including his much-publicized phone call to LeBron James, his relationship with teammate Terry Rozier and the Boston Celtics’ roller-coaster season so far.

The Celtics point guard also used the discussion as an opportunity to call out the media for how it handles speculation and rumors related to athletes and their teams.

“A lot of people don’t realize on the outside that a lot of things that are said get into the locker rooms,” Irving said. “Like, a lot of things that are put in headlines get into locker rooms. Like, media has broken up locker rooms. Like, it’s been done before. Like, you say something that’s misinterpreted, and instead of addressing it with the person or individual, like human interaction, you read it on your phone or you read it in text.”

These comments didn’t sit well with Stephen A. Smith, who fired back Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take” by emphasizing his own accessibility and willingness to speak on behalf of whoever has a problem with something he says on national TV.

Smith claims he tries to ensure someone from each locker room has his phone number, in case a problem arises. Sometimes, players choose not to address him directly but rather complain in other interviews, though. And Smith has a problem with that.

“What I’m saying is this: You have media members, and everybody wants to talk about they’re breaking up locker rooms. You mean to tell me ya’ll really, really think that guys — grown men and women who have families to feed and a job to do — are literally making a concerted effort to divide a locker room? No,” Smith said. “What they’re doing is, they’re in pursuit of truth that the teams don’t want you to have access to at a particular moment in time or, if not, into perpetuity. That’s been religiously the case throughout the history of sports.”

Maybe the “First Take” crew can have Irving back on set one of these days to clear the air.

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images