Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Kyrie Irving responded to an ESPN report that stated some in the Nets' organization are concerned over his 'infamous mood swings.'
He said he isn't worried about other people's perceptions and isn't going to respond emotionally to the report. He added that he expects reports like this to surface about him and he doesn't 'have to be perfect' for the Nets or anyone else.
"I wear this professional hat when I come in to work. Some people in this environment know a percentage of me. I don't go home with anybody, so I like to keep it that way and keep my life private. The relationships that I have are very meaningful to me. That goes back to the importance of self-love," Irving said after the Nets' loss to Indiana on Wednesday. "Who cares what ESPN is saying or what anyone else says? I love myself, I love my family, I love my friends, I love playing basketball. I'm grateful to do it every day. (Criticism over players' personalities is) going to come with being one of the top players.
"History has shown you can be the best teammate ever and someone is still going to say something negative about what you're doing and how you approach your life…. If you allow that to infiltrate, or get you emotionally invested or respond emotionally, you're going to be right where they want you to be. So I kind of expect that at this point, for people to say things like that, and I'm going to keep on smiling and being me. I'm happy where I am and that comes with it I guess."
The ESPN report, which delves into how the Nets' culture and norms may have to bend with Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, suggests that Irving and the organization are largely on the same page at this point.
But it notes the following: "Irving's infamous mood swings, confirmed by his ex-teammates, which followed him from Cleveland to Boston to Brooklyn, are the unspoken concern that makes Nets officials queasy. When Irving lapses into these funks, he often shuts down, unwilling to communicate with the coaching staff, front office and, sometimes, even his teammates. Nets team sources say one such episode occurred during Brooklyn's trip to China, leaving everyone scratching their heads as to what precipitated it."
Irving was asked on Wednesday about changing the perception of himself.
"That's another root of human struggle. Worrying about other people's perceptions about who you are. Why would you ever care about that?" Irving said. "I think that I fell victim to that in my past - worrying about things that I can't control. If people understood what words could do to human beings, especially in today's society, they wouldn't be invested in that.
"I'm not here to dispel anything. You (media) can continue to ask other people around me what they think about me. (Media) can continue to write about mood swings. Human beings have mood swings. You go home and you're not happy with things. Or your mad at something or your happy, that's a mood swing. It's OK to be human. I don't have to be perfect for anyone here, nor do I have to be perfect for the public. So I'm not here to dispel any perception. I'm just here to be myself."
Irving said that the reaction to the article - which was discussed on television shows and written about on multiple outlets, was 'hilarious.'
"It's just interesting to watch it unfold to see how it can affect everyone around you. Yet no one asked me, no one asked how I feel about it until today. Until everyone said something about it and then they watched it trickle in like a little wild fire. 'Oh, who is Kyrie now?' It's hilarious to me to watch it affect people emotionally," he said. "But, no, I really don't want to invite that into my teammates. They know who I am and I'm proud of who I am too."
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson firmly denied that he's had any issues with Irving's mood, though personnel in Boston have suggested that Irving is inconsistent at times with his approach with teammates.
Earlier Wednesday, Atkinson said he didn't see a need to address the report with Irving.
"I stick (to Tuesday's comments) -- I'll double down or triple down on what I said. That's where I am. ... I know all these elite players -- not just Kyrie -- they're used to the scrutiny and that's just part of the business, so just what it is. But I didn't feel a need to talk to him about it."
On the court, the Nets struggled in a loss to the Pacers, who entered Barclays Center 0-3. Indiana shot 42 percent from beyond the arc and benefitted from 19 Nets turnovers.
Atkinson said after the game that his team was 'dominated' physically by an Indiana team that lost Myles Turner in the first half due to an ankle injury.
"We've got to get to know each other, I think that's part of it," Atkinson said.
He added: "We're not really running anything (on offense). In training camp, you're practicing a lot and you have a nice flow and kind of know what you're doing. I think we've kind of lost a little bit of our structure and organization which is natural with a new team."
Irving had 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting. All other Nets shot 30-for-73 (41 percent).