The New Jersey native received lots of criticism for saying he would not speak to the media early this month, and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith opined that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant would not be happy with Irving’s recent behavior (at about the 2:50 mark).
“Somebody Kyrie respected, loved, and idolized was Kobe Bryant,” said Smith while on ESPN’s “First Take.” “I don’t think Kobe Bryant would be happy.”
Irving is, without question, one of the league’s great players, but his off-the-court demeanor has made him come off as something of an enigma.
He ruffled some feathers weeks ago when he said he didn’t really feel his team needed a head coach, which some felt was disrespectful towards new Nets coach Steve Nash.
Irving has seen Bryant as something of a mentor for years. He even paid tribute to Bryant and his late daughter Gianna in a recent unreleased song.
The elder Bryant, younger Bryant and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash in January.