Stephen A. Smith’s beef with Kyrie seems more personal than objective

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

If you watch First Take on ESPN, you can see how Stephen A. Smith, despite outside noise, constantly gives Kyrie Irving, the player, his props. Make no mistake about it; when Irving is on the court, you know he’s going to give it to you.

But that’s where the pleasantries end. Because on Thursday, after Kevin Durant was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a wagon of compensation, including draft picks and players, Smith went on television and was asked about the trade.

Smith provided his usual soliloquy, and upon reading the leaves a bit more closely, it does sound like Smith is essentially blaming Irving, now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, for what transpired. Again, this is not to say he directly said it because he did not. However, an argument could be made that it is exactly what is going down.

Social media seemed to feel the same way, especially after the conversation between Smith and Jay Williams just days ago, where Williams said Smith was making his argument with Irving a “personal” matter. Twitter agreed then, and it does to this day.

Stephen A. Smith may not have a legitimate beef with Kyrie Irving, but it comes across that way.

Stephen A. Smith has been known to be upfront; he doesn’t hide from the news. He’s also not wrong in his critiques of Kyrie Irving when it comes to not showing up for games, his quote on being disrespected by the Nets, and beyond. That said, it does sound like he may have a personal grudge.

In fairness to Smith, this is nothing like the Rob Parker-Tom Brady situation. That is beyond personal, and it shows a lack of professionalism, given how Parker continuously takes shot after shot at Brady with “hot takes” and has even written defamatory “hit pieces” in the process. If Brady were to respond to Parker or fire back, nobody, not even Brady’s harshest critics, would be opposed to it. They’d welcome it.

But back to Irving and Smith. It does seem a bit personal, as folks will recall when Smith compared the Aaron Rodgers vaccine incident to the one with Kyrie. Smith was a bit fairer with Rodgers than with Kyrie. Make no mistake about it.

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That said, if Smith and Irving do have a personal beef with one another, it’s got to stop. It undermines integrity and professionalism. You may not like it, and you can feel strongly about it. But don’t make it sound personal. That hurts in the long run.