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Mavericks' Kyrie Irving Questions Being Labeled 'Cancer' in Video Directed at Critics

Adam WellsMarch 9, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 08: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts to a fan during the second quarter of an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on March 08, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving has dismissed any notion that he's a disruptive force in the locker room who has blown things up with three different teams in his NBA career.

The Dallas Mavericks guard used his official Twitch channel to address being labeled a "cancer" by his critics.

New York Basketball @NBA_NewYorkCity

<a href="https://t.co/8BUYixGwtd">pic.twitter.com/8BUYixGwtd</a>

The main thrust of Irving's argument seems to be that people are judging him based on what he does as a basketball player.

Away from the court, Irving was suspended for eight games earlier this season by the Brooklyn Nets after he posted a link to an antisemitic movie on social media. He initially refused apologize and disavow the movie's messaging when given the chance to do so. Nike ended its business relationship with him following his post.

Irving admitted at Forbes' Under 30 Summit in October 2018 (h/t ESPN.com) while with the Boston Celtics he was really into conspiracy theories at one point, particularly when he declared the earth was flat. He did apologize for that stance at the summit.

Thursday, he talked about the "21 hours every day" that happen when games aren't being played and blamed "older, bitter gentlemen and women" for portraying him as a "cancer" when there are 15 players on an NBA team.

There's been extensive reporting for years about Irving not getting along with teammates. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported in July 2017 Irving didn't want to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers anymore because he didn't appreciate feeling "like he's the child and LeBron's the father or big brother he's supposed to look up to."

Around the same time, ESPN's Dave McMenamin said on the BBall Breakdown Podcast (h/t Chris Chavez of SI.com) that Irving went "consecutive days" during the 2017 playoffs without talking to any of his Cavs teammates during practice.

During his time with the Celtics, Irving pledged to re-sign with the team in October 2018 before backing off that sentiment months later.

In a May 2019 report from Jeff Goodman of Stadium, one anonymous player on the Celtics called Irving "hard to play with" because he makes things "all about him."

Speaking to reporters after shooting 7-of-22 (1-of-7 from three) in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Irving said he was "trying to do it all" and "should have shot 30" times.

Irving also left the floor early and was in the tunnel when the final buzzer sounded for that game.

In his three-year stint with the Nets, Irving made himself unavailable for home games for most of the 2021-22 season by choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Last offseason, the eight-time All-Star sought and received permission from the Nets to explore sign-and-trade opportunities.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving opted in to the final season of his deal with the Nets on July 27 when the Los Angeles Lakers were the only team that had an interest in acquiring him.

According to Wojnarowski, the Nets had no interest in taking back the package being offered by the Lakers.

Irving requested a trade from the Nets on Feb. 3 after he declined a contract extension because the team wanted to include stipulations for him to receive guaranteed money, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, Alex Schiffer and Law Murray.

Dallas acquired Irving and Markieff Morris from the Nets for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three draft picks.

The Mavs are 3-6 in nine games with Irving and Luka Dončić playing together. He's putting up good individual stats with 27.5 points on 51.2 percent shooting and 6.6 assists per game in 11 starts for Dallas.