Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving — I don’t have to be perfect, I’m here to be myself


NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving said Wednesday he was not worried about other people’s perceptions of him.

After a 10-point loss to the Indiana Pacers that dropped the Brooklyn Nets to 1-3 on the season, Irving split his postgame news conference between pontificating about self-love and dissecting Brooklyn’s on-court shortcomings.

“I don’t have to be perfect for anyone here, nor do I have to be perfect for the public,” Irving said. “I am not here to dispel any perception, I am here to be myself.”

His comments came two days after ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, as part of a piece profiling Irving, Kevin Durant and the new culture of the Nets, wrote that even though Irving has been with Brooklyn for only a few months, he has clashed with team personnel. When Irving played for the Boston Celtics, he became a disruptive force in the locker room. MacMullan wrote that in Brooklyn, Irving, among other things, already has refused to participate in a team activity involving wearables that collect biometric data.

Irving was asked about the story Wednesday night but said his concern is being true to himself and the people close to him.

“Who cares what ESPN or anyone says?” Irving said. “I love myself. I love my family. I love my friends. I love playing basketball.

“It is just interesting to watch it unfold to see how it can affect everyone around you, yet no one asked me. Until everyone said something about it. Then they watched it trickle in like a little wild fire, like, ‘Who is Kyrie now?'”

Irving had declined to discuss the ESPN story when asked about it Tuesday.

“It is hilarious to me to watch it affect people emotionally,” Irving said Wednesday.

At times during his 8-minute deluge, it was hard to follow Irving’s logic. He veered from “another route of human struggle is dealing with other people’s perceptions” to “they try to tear down some of the most peaceful people in the world.”

Locker room turbulence or not, the Nets continue to struggle to jell on the court. Brooklyn finished with 19 turnovers against Indiana on Wednesday. Its 1-3 start is tied for the worst four-game start of Irving’s career. The last time a team Irving played for had such a sputtering record to start the season was the 2014-15 Cavaliers.

Irving has been a force offensively, becoming the first player in Nets history to score at least 25 points in each of the Nets’ first four games of a season. Still, he has struggled to create for his teammates. He finished with 28 points and six assists Wednesday.

“It is going to take some time,” Irving said. “Wins and losses, they come and go. 78 more.”

Source : ESPN