If there’s one thing that you can count on Stephen A. Smith to do, it’s yelling. On last Friday’s edition of NBA Countdown, the commentator went on a rant about the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving, although the team didn’t play that night.
Smith is a fan of the Nets’ cross-town rival, the Knicks. He’s been outspoken (to no surprise) about his disdain for Irving’s vaccination status.
His displeasure for the Nets isn’t a secret. It’s hard to believe that Smith keeps anything secret, though, and based on his latest ramble, he may dislike Irving as much as he dislikes the Cowboys.
Stephen A. Smith goes on a rant about the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving.
Michael Wilbon, Mike Greenberg, Jalen Rose, and Smith were on the topic of Brooklyn’s play since Irving returned to the court on Jan. 5.
Greenberg asked Smith, “What have we learned about this Brooklyn team?”
Smith’s rant started by complementing James Harden’s recent play and how Irving’s return benefitted him specifically, but then he said, “It ain’t good for basketball if the Brooklyn Nets win. Somebody’s got to say it, so I’m gonna say it.”
He doesn’t think that it’s right to have a part-time player to begin with, but especially thinks that it’s wrong for players to “endorse” Irving’s status and for Joe Tsai to “compromise his own principles” because “he’s chasing wins at this particular moment in time.”
Smith continued by saying that being a part-time player “sends a bad message” and tarnishes the NBA’s image.
He finished by saying that he’s not the type of person to root against players like James Harden and Kevin Durant, but that “it’s pretty close to impossible to root for a team that’s doing this kind of stuff, or celebrating this kind of nonsense.”
As usual, Smith didn’t hold anything back.
While Irving’s vaccination stance has been a controversial issue, Steve Nash made it clear ahead of the point guard’s return that the team would welcome him back.
And that’s exactly what the Nets have done.
There was optimism that Irving would get vaccinated sometime this season, but he put those rumors to bed on Monday following Brooklyn’s loss to Cleveland. Therefore, a full-time return for the seven-time All-Star doesn’t seem probable.
And that’s what Smith has an issue with.
It would be great for Irving to get vaccinated for the health and safety of himself and those around him, but only he can make that decision. Not wanting Harden and Durant to win a title because of that choice doesn’t make sense, especially given the workload that those two took on in Irving’s absence.
If the Nets are the last team standing in mid-June, you’re going to want to be sure to tune into ESPN’s First Take the following morning. That episode will be one for the ages.