In an enlightening, if not enlightened, interview with UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Kyrie Irving had a lot to say. He talked about flat Earth beliefs, Duke, the seeming inevitability of his trade to Boston and the movie "Whiplash" (starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons). During the interview, Irving recanted his previous claims that he was trolling the media with his flat Earth statements -- a little.
For a refresher, here's what he said at the end of September:
Look, look. Here it is. All I want to do is be able to have that open conversation. It was all an exploitation tactic. It literally spun the world — your guy's world — it spun it into a frenzy and proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works. It created a division, or, literally stand up there and let all these people threw tomatoes at me, or have somebody think I'm somehow a different intellectual person because I believe that the Earth is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that.
Presumably all of this was explained at a Dr. Evil-style desk while lowering reporters into a pit of sharks, but I digress. Irving now says that it's just his inquisitive nature to question the spherical shape of the Earth.
The whole intent behind it, Coach, it wasn't to bash science. It wasn't to like have the intent of starting a rage and be seen as this insane individual. When I started seeing comments and things about universal truths that I had known, like I had questions.
When I started actually doing research on my own and figuring out that there is no real picture of Earth, not one real picture of Earth — and we haven't been back to the moon since 1961 or 1969 — it becomes like conspiracy, too.
OK, so this can go either way. Maybe Irving just wants to ask questions that people aren't asking. After all, saying that something "becomes like" a conspiracy isn't outright calling it a conspiracy. And everyone wants to be a little contrarian when things are universally accepted. No great discovery was ever made without going against the grain.
The separation that I can't stand is because I think one particular way … then there's a tirade of comments of who I am character-wise. The only intent was for people to open up and do their own research. It wasn't to, 'OK, let me figure out and go against science. Let me go against what I've been told is right, and all this stuff.' The only intent was just to wake up and do your our research.
Instead of just assuming something that's been told to you — because I've been told a lot in terms of my history, and facts and particular facts, and it's been completely false. I just wanna open up and have that conversation. I wanted to just ask other individuals, like do you really think this actually happened? I just wanna know. Because I don't know either.
For someone who doesn't know, he seems pretty sure that we don't have real pictures of Earth. However, in the interview, perhaps our most startling revelation came to light: Irving really didn't understand "Whiplash." At all. Irving has said in the past that the movie inspired him, but he elaborated why in the interview to Auriemma.
I first saw it in Kobe's "Muse" documentary that he released. He was talking about 'Whiplash,' and I was like, 'Man, I got to catch that movie.' I had no idea what it was going into it. I ended up ordering it and watching it, and watched it over and over, and watched it probably about six times.
I just, I was amazed. It was just that twitch. It was just that extra level that I knew I had to push through despite what I was going through. The perfection of the craft in anything that people are doing in life, it takes a shit ton of sacrifice and being away from things that normal people would want to do.
You have to sacrifice relationships, you have to sacrifice a ton of your focus. You have to develop your mental aptitude, and I started figuring out that the little things matter in the grand scheme of things and in putting on a huge performance. No one gets to see the things you do behind closed doors. The sleepless nights and staying up late and bleeding, basically bleeding for your craft because you want to be that great. I took all that from that movie, and I started loving it more and more.
Those of you that have seen "Whiplash" will realize, of course, that this is utter nonsense and is the point of the movie about as much as "V for Vendetta" is alternatively titled "The High-Notes of Anarchy," but if that's the takeaway then that's the takeaway. After all, any English class teaches that authorial intent becomes irrelevant when confronted with reader/viewer interpretation. Irving describes the movie as a "turning point" in his career.
Irving certainly likes to give these interviews and he enjoys making people talk about these things. He has his own firm set of beliefs. The Celtics are currently 5-2, tops in the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference (tied with the surprising Orlando Magic). As long as he keeps playing well, people will embrace his weirdness. And who knows. Maybe one day he'll watch the end of "Whiplash."