As the NBA's popularity has increased, so too has the level of coverage, to the point that there never really is a break from news. Even once-distinct segments of the NBA calendar have started running together, where free agency speculation begins months, even years before a player's contract is up.
At times, that constant quest for new information and gossip can go a little overboard, as it did this past All-Star Weekend. A video was filmed of Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and Warriors forward Kevin Durant speaking in the hallway, which led to theories about what they were discussing. Some even went so far as to suggest -- (somewhat?) jokingly -- that when Irving held up two fingers at one point in the discussion, he was referencing the two max salary slots the New York Knicks have open in the summer. The duo, of course, have each been linked to the Knicks.
When this video was brought up to Irving on Wednesday evening after the Celtics finished shootaround in Milwaukee, he was verging on disgusted at the thought of even answering questions about its meaning.
Kyrie's full response, as transcribed by Tom Westerholm of MassLive:
"I don't have a private life when I'm out there in the NBA. Somebody wants to take a video and, I mean, it is what it is. Pour water on it? I'm a human being talking to another best friend of mine. Like, it's just crazy. This is the stuff that just doesn't make the league fun. Like, it doesn't make the league fun. Nobody helps promote the league even more by doing bulls--- like that, of just fictitious putting things on what we're talking about. It's just, it's crazy. I guess that's what you wanted, huh?
"It's my life, right? It's two people talking, having a conversation. If this was the real world would it be anybody else's business? But it's a video of somebody assuming what we're talking about, right? Making an opinion about it. So why would I care about it? Why does that have an impact on my life? Why are you asking me those types of questions? About cooling it off? For what? I don't get it.
"That's where we started off the conversation. What I do with my life is my business. So it's none of yours, it's not anybody's business, right? So it's a video of me and one of my best friends talking, and then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I'm asked questions about it? That's what disconnects me from all that s---. Like, because I have no connection to that. Over a video? I'm asked a question about the fans, and you brought up the fans? Come on man. You do it for the likes and clicks. Everybody does. Everybody wants to hear me talk like this. Everybody wants to hear an athlete talk about bulls--- like this. A video though? To pour water on it? It makes no sense. It just makes no sense. It's not real life."
Irving has a complicated relationship with the media, especially after the highly publicized flat earth controversy, and the free agency drama earlier this season. On this specific topic, though, he's absolutely right.
It's one thing for fans to see a video or a photo of players and make jokes about it on Twitter, but these kind of things should exist solely in that realm -- as difficult as that is with social media and how this ecosystem functions. This really shouldn't be something that's discussed seriously in the media or that players themselves have to answer questions about.
Irving and Durant weren't even on the court or in a public setting for this conversation. Someone shot a secret video of two friends talking, and now Irving is being asked questions about what it all means, when he probably doesn't even remember what they were talking about. It's dumb, and more so than that, it furthers the already growing distrust between many players and the media.