Why, you ask?
Because of the way Smith called out Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. Among other things, Marbury, the former Knicks and Nets star, took exception to the fact Smith called Irving “one of the most delusional athletes in American history.” Per thecomeback.com:
“I’m starting to think Stephen A. Smith thinks he’s a star for speaking the English language loud and obnoxious on TV,” Marbury Bally Sports. “I truly believe he’s upset he couldn’t play ball in front of 19,000 people every night, so he reverted towards [bashing] people who look like him who have true intentions on earth to be real and authentic towards helping people.”
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“We are witnessing one of the most delusional athletes in American history,” Smith said Friday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “He’s lost because he’s so big on telling everybody else they’re lost.
“Kyrie is also slick because he’s trying to get away with something that 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, you don’t show up to work. You wanna do what you wanna do when you want to do it, how you want to do it while you 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’re pitying us because what you wanna 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.”
In a series of Tweets Thursday, Irving, the West Orange native and former St. Patrick High School star, accused media corporations of “degrading BLACK/African/Indigenous community heroes.”
He appeared to be responding to the constant criticism he and Kevin Durant have faced after the Nets were swept Monday night by the Celtics. Smith is fond of pointing out that of the 247 potential games Irving and Durant could have played together since joining the Nets in free agency in 2019, they have actually played together in 58 and won one playoff series. Irving, of course, missed 53 games this season after he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You look at this team, they have underachieved, it’s got his fingerprints all over it and the brother clocking in $30-plus million along the way,” Smith said. “And we have the gall to sit up there and say, ‘Yo man, you gonna play?’”
He added: “Kyrie actually looks down on us because we want to see him play and we’re demanding that you play. You played 20 games in Brooklyn your first year. … You come back the next year you played 54 games. You come back this year, it’s the pandemic, you missed 53 games. Kyrie Irving is one of the greatest professionals at missing work. Right now the season is over, he got six months off, six months off on top of the 53 games that he missed and he’s getting paid over $30 million. And do n’t think for one second he did n’t get his money from him, he got his money from him now.
Irving has a player option worth $36.9 million for the 2022-23 season that he could decline. He could then sign with the Nets for up to five years and $247.6 million, per hoopsype.com.
“In terms of my extension, man, I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” he said after Monday’s loss.
(NJ Advance Media’s Adam Zagoria contributed to this report.)
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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at email@example.com.