Stephen A. Smith has a succinct message for Kyrie Irving: If you don’t like people talking about your basketball status, then quit.
Smith expressed this remark on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Friday.
“Respectfully, to Kyrie Irving, who doesn’t want us talking about him: Don’t play basketball,” Smith said.
“We talk about basketball. Nobody’s talking about his personal life. Nobody’s talking about the tweets from months ago. Nobody’s talking about all the things that he’s got himself involved with with headlines and whatever.”
Smith again urged Irving to “quit” if he doesn’t want to be the topic of free agency speculation.
“Kyrie Irving is a good dude that’s smarter than people give him credit for, but I do think it’s utterly ridiculous for him to be telling people, they don’t know, don’t listen to them. Well why wouldn’t they listen to us? We’re just talking basketball. We’re prognosticating about where you could potentially go,” Smith continued.
“Nobody says they know or anything like that. And if you don’t want us to talk about you as a basketball player, quit! Because we’re going to talk about you.”
Earlier this week, on Instagram Live, Irving urged his followers not to listen to what anyone has to say about his free agency.
“I am a free agent this summer, but I am in no rush to make a decision,” Irving said.
“The speculation around my name from all these individuals that get on TV and have these personalities … all these people that have these platforms, and I’m talking about the TV personalities that try to mix sports with politics and lifestyle and s–t like that…
“When they speak on my name talking about potential teams that I’m going to, can y’all, I’m asking respectfully, please stop paying attention to that.”
Irving has been particularly linked to the Lakers, which would mark a reunion with LeBron James in attempt to recapture the magic that propelled them to a championship in Cleveland — thought James has floated the idea of retirement.