kyrie irving
Kyle Terada | USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith is still hammering Kyrie Irving.

ESPN’s chief bloviator crushed the mercurial Nets star for his recent flurry of tweets attacking the media on Friday’s First Take. Smith said he plans to combat Irving’s narratives vigorously moving forward, like some sort of public hot take service.

“We are witnessing one of the most delusional athletes in American history,” Smith said. “He is lost. He is so big on telling everybody else they’re lost. Kyrie is also slick. Because he’s trying to get away with something I’m not going to allow him to get away from.

“You can try to paint this issue, Kyrie, into anything you want. What it comes down to and what everybody is focusing on is you don’t want to show up for work. You want to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, how you want to do it, while you’ve got your hand out for somebody else’s money. And then when you get called on it, we’re the peons. We’re the ones who are puppets. So before you excoriated us. Now you are pitying us. Because what you want to do is highlight the puppet masters who you are worth billions to. You’re not worth billions, bro. Millions, yes. Billions, no. That’s delusional. You gave that up years ago.”

Irving has been under fire in recent days after the Nets’ embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. That defeat came after the Nets needed to win a play-in tournament game to make the traditional postseason field after Irving missed the bulk of the team’s home games due to his refusal to get vaccinated when the city mandate was still in full effect.


“Kyrie actually looks down on us because we want to see him play and we’re demanding that he play,” Smith said while conceding Irving is “arguably the most spectacular talent in the NBA” and is “box office.”

Smith said Irving has no right to attack the media for reporting — and criticizing — on his on-court exploits (or lack thereof).

“What you sign up for professionally, what people are professionally assigned to cover, they have right to sit up there and say, ‘Yo, you ain’t showing up to work. There’s always something with you. There’s always something,'” he said.

“When he goes on a Twitter rant like this, to me it is an evasive tactic to try to infuse or implement race, beliefs or whatever into the equation. Ain’t nobody going there. All we’re saying is, ‘You are a spectacular talent who is a professional at taking time off. Eleven years in this league, he has played 60 games or less seven times. Nearly two-thirds of his career, this brother takes a quarter of the season off on top of the six months he religiously gets off. It’s egregious, it makes no sense, and the fact that he can sit up there and act at a time where he is swept, home watching the playoffs just like us, not participating, having broom sticks brought to your building, to sit up and there and act like you are a victim, that someone has mistreated you, is what I find weak and sad.”

And Smith will not let it stand.

“He ain’t getting no damn last word,” he said. “Not here, not in this lifetime.”

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.