Is Kyrie Irving aloof? Is he a good leader? Is he moody? Depending on who you talk to, this seems hard to pin down. No matter what, the reality is that Irving has gone from place-to-place and been dogged with the same kind of criticisms at each stop. It’s hard to ignore that common thread.
Things already started off a little awkward with the Brooklyn Nets this year. A report from Jackie MacMullan said that Irving had already been moody, particularly during the Nets’ trip China. That report was refuted by players and coaches, but they have a mutual interest in making sure that the ego of Irving goes unbruised.
Meanwhile, these reports have once again called into question Irving’s leadership. When asked about how he expects to lead Brooklyn this year, Irving told the Athletic that it was more about how he acted then how he spoke.
“True leadership comes from the way your actions speak,” Irving told The Athletic. “That’s the biggest thing. It’s just not trying to overemphasize what leadership means all the time and overexplain it, in terms of, ‘This is me as a leader.’ Because truth be told, there is not just one leader in the locker room.
“It’s a lot deeper when it’s just a team basketball game, and it’s just the realization of that.”
This reads as does most of what we hear from Irving. That is, like a plain thing explained to you in the manner of a moody 14-year-old who thinks he’s on the cutting edge of intellect because he reads Faust listens to Dinosaur Jr. Real Brain Genius type stuff.
Anyone who has been around competent leadership knows that’s not just about the rah-rah stuff. It’s about leading with your actions, and having the kind of confidence internally that projects to others following you on a path. Irving explaining that isn’t exactly groundbreaking.
Of course, reports of moodiness are not just about Irving not speaking to his teammates. It’s about the action of distance, and how that alienates others. Who knows how things are going to go in Brooklyn this year. Irving keeps scoring gobs of points, but that was expected. The Nets are just 2-4 to start the season, and most feel they should be a playoff team. If they can’t meet that mark, it won’t matter whether Irving spoke.
Winning games is about action, and right now Brooklyn needs more of it.