Former NBA player Olden Polynice indicated that Kyrie Irving once insulted Steve Nash by saying that the MVP awards Nash won should have been given to Kobe Bryant.
“One of the reasons why there’s issues between he and Kyrie Irving is because of a statement he made during a party at Steve Nash’s house,” Polynice said. “Okay, in front of everybody, Kyrie said, ‘You need to give those MVP trophies back to Kobe. You didn’t deserve them.'”
Debates over MVP awards have been commonplace for decades. Nash’s MVP selections in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons are often debated. During the latter season, Bryant was clearly a strong contender by leading the NBA in scoring by averaging 35.4 points per game.
It was during that 2005-06 season that Bryant offered the greatest offensive performance of his iconic career. On January 22, 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest single-game performance in league history.
To be fair to Nash, his numbers during his two MVP seasons were also stellar, as he averaged a double-double and led the NBA in assists per game each season.
Nash’s stature as a coach remains a work in progress and has come under closer scrutiny with the struggles endured by the Nets.
Part of the Nets’ problem has been trying to find a way to have multiple superstars mesh on the court together. That problem became evident when the Nets traded superstar guard James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers just one year after acquiring him in a blockbuster deal.
More recently, Kevin Durant’s request to be traded found few takers due to the huge price tag the Nets put on any potential deal. That eventually resulted in Durant offering a statement that he’d remain with the team.
Of course, Irving himself has also been a controversial issue for the Nets during Nash’s tenure. Irving’s injury-plagued history has limited his availability, while his controversial stance against the COVID-19 vaccine also kept him off the court.
"I'm told that Kyrie has no plans to get vaccinated. … He's leaving another $16M on the table as well as a potential $185M extension, so he stands to lose about $200M." — @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/6xYWVyHfqY
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 14, 2021
Irving’s name has been prominently mentioned in trade talks with the Lakers throughout this offseason. Whether this latest story gives them pause to go forward with any possible deal remains to be seen.