Taking shots at Kyrie Irving only will increase the protection he receives from those closest to him.
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie insisted Sunday on The Ringer’s “Winging It with Vince Carter and Annie Finberg” podcast that rumors of personality clashes between the star point guard and his teammates and coaches aren’t true. Dinwiddie believes portraying Irving as a malcontent brings him closer to the rest of the group and he contrasts the apparent impact of Irving’s public persona to that of other NBA superstars.
“I would say as a team, it actually makes you more sympathetic for him,” Dinwiddie said. “Because you start to learn about who he is and you start to realize how narratives are spun because it’s click-bait in a sense or it gets more people watching.
” … I’ve had thing said about me, I don’t like Kyrie and stuff like that, and it’s like guys, do you realize I was his friend before he signed? There was a big story in the summer about how we’re friends. Now apparently we don’t like each other 10 games into the season.
“Ridiculous stuff tends to happen because he’s a polarizing star. He’s not necessarily someone who walks the line like a LeBron James and is a media star like Steph (Curry). He kind of does things his own way, and so it gives pundits ammo to attack him, so they can get more views.”
Irving joined the Nets last summer in free agency, following a disappointing final season with the Boston Celtics. However, hopes of a long-and-happy union in Brooklyn began to fade within three months, as multiple reports of his off-court demeanor (i.e. “mood swings”) adversely affecting the Nets emerged in the media.
Furthermore, injuries have sidelined Irving for the last 12 games, and the Nets have performed well in his absence. Brooklyn is 9-3 without Irving this season and just 4-7 with him.
While skeptics will point to the Nets’ recent winning run as proof of Irving’s negative impact, it’s no surprise his friend and teammate will defend him forcefully.