Cavs' Kyrie Irving on flat-Earth backlash: 'It's OK to have your own thoughts'

In another apperance on the “Road Trippin’” podcast, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving addressed the fallout from his the-Earth-is-flat nonsense. Irving, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Allie Clifton talked about it for a while, and Irving didn’t exactly walk his comments back. 

“I found it somewhat hilarious just by the reaction it got,” Irving said. “That right there, before we went into All-Star weekend, we talked about this. Because we were like, ‘This is gonna be crazy, going into All-Star weekend, flat Earth, round Earth conversation. Aliens. No conspiracy theories. So as I’m at All-Star weekend, I’m starting to see different news channels, different people pick it up. And it almost felt like I was standing on top of a pendulum and I was like swinging back and forth and then it gave everyone a chance to just look at me and then, if they didn’t agree with me, kind of like throw rocks at me. Just like, ‘no, he can’t believe this.’ 

“And then you got all these science experts, guys that have been studying the space, the earth, everything for so many years,” Irving continued. “And I’m sitting back and I’m like, OK, the fact that, you know, that this is opening up conversation, I’m happy with that. The fact that it became a conversation starter and honestly people were asking me questions and they were looking at me like I didn’t have a brain on, or my parents didn’t raise me the right way, or something like that, there’s something definitely wrong with this kid -- that’s when I started to kind of, I took a step back and I was like OK, this is more than just what I just said. This right here opened up a whole bunch of things. A whole bunch of information as well.”

Scientists did indeed respond to Irving. A Duke astronomy professor told USA Today that “maybe he needs to learn a little bit more about basic physics.” Bill Nye the Science Guy told Sports Illustrated that “it is really concerning when you have people in the public eye, or you have people in general who think that the Earth might not be round” because it devalues the scientific method. Neil DeGrasse Tyson told TMZ that he was happy that Irving was a basketball player, not working with NASA, joking that we should “take everybody who thinks Earth is flat and launch them into space,” only agreeing to bring them all back when they admit the were wrong. 

None of this backlash, however, appears to have made Irving reconsider his position. Instead, he said he was being punished for having an unpopular opinion.

“It’s OK to think something that, I guess, the majority wouldn’t think,” Irving said. “I just didn’t like the fact that us being able to celebrate our individuality and things that we ultimately hold on to, and just because we don’t believe what the world thinks or what the majority thinks, then why punish that? That’s the only thing I felt like that got misconstructed is just that it’s OK to believe one thing. It’s OK to have your own thoughts and be able to function and be able to formulate your own thoughts and opinions and still be able to convey them to other people.”

The problem, of course, is that not all thoughts are equal. Facts require evidence. That is essentially the point of science. Sigh.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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