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Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Why a Flat Earth Is 'OK'

Dave Schilling@@dave_schillingWriter-at-LargeFebruary 19, 2017

Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Eastern Conference forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (23) and  Eastern Conference forward Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2) laugh during the NBA All-Star Practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NEW ORLEANS — If only we all had friends like LeBron James. My mom likes me. My brother likes me. My wife tolerates me. None of them are going to publicly denounce the very bedrocks of how the universe functions on my behalf. If I helped LeBron James bring an NBA championship to Cleveland, he would. That's real love.

After an internet firestorm erupted over Kyrie Irving's comments on Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson's podcast that the Earth is flat (and that the whole idea of planets orbiting the sun is suspect, at best), the assembled media masses in New Orleans for the All-Star Game descended on each morsel of availability Irving offered to quiz him on basic astronomy. You can understand how this developed into the story of the weekend when pouring over Irving's statements. "This is not even a conspiracy theory," he said. "The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. It's right in front of our faces. I'm telling you, it's right in front of our faces. They lie to us." Not even, "Hey, maybe the Earth is flat. I don't know. I haven't been to space." Straight up, it's flat and the educational system has failed us.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks with the media during media availability for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Mar
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So, we, the press corps, did our duty. We asked Kyrie to clarify. People spoke to Draymond Green, who isn't even on the same All-Star team as Kyrie, about how he felt. "I haven't done enough research, but it may be flat," Green said to reporters after the Western Conference team's public practice session at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. When asked how anyone could believe such a thing when there are pictures of the Earth that show it to be very clearly spherical, Green said, "But how do you know that picture is telling the truth? I can make a round picture with my iPhone, on a panoramic camera, make it look round. So, I don't know."

But it was James who offered the boldest support of Irving's claims yet. "Kyrie is my little brother," James said. "If he decides the Earth is flat, that's OK."

The guys were clearly having a good time winding us up. It was smiles, hearty chuckles and the subtle awareness that they could basically say anything and we'd leap back to our seats to tweet about it. Considering that James has a history of clamming up when facing questions that lean toward the controversial—and believe me, claiming that hundreds of years of science is false is controversial—it was shocking to see him in such a jovial mood.

Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Eastern Conference forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (23) speaks to the media during the NBA All-Star Practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Here I am, rubbing my temples trying to understand how anyone could deny the fact that the Earth is round, but perhaps for once in my life it's time to stop questioning. I might as well take Kyrie at his word. What else isn't real? Am I even here right now? Am I awake or is life just a dream? Are people really allowed to carry open containers of alcohol on the street in this town or is that another optical illusion? I think I know everything, but do I really know anything?

The only thing I know for certain is that LeBron James loves Kyrie Irving. He'd go anywhere. He'd do anything. When Kyrie saw only one set of footprints on the beach, that was because King James was carrying him. Kyrie's dagger three at Oracle in Game 7 of the Finals last year resulted in an everlasting bond, one symbolized by matching (championship) rings. The world can be a lonely place, especially when you also think the Earth is flat. That's why LeBron stood up for the Robin to his Batman. If we can't believe in our politicians, our media, our science, or actual photographic evidence that contradicts our ludicrous opinions, then let's at least believe in each other.