Aside from LeBron James, no NBA star has been in the news more than Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving — and he hasn’t done himself many favors.
Irving has called out his teammates, urged younger Celtics to play better, waffled on his intentions on whether or not he’ll re-sign with Boston this offseason and blamed media scrutiny for his unpleasant attitude in recent weeks.
Sunday after a win against the Lakers, Irving addressed his behavior.
“The way I’ve handled things, it hasn’t been perfect,” Irving told Yahoo in an extensive interview. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I take full responsibility for. I apologize. I haven’t done it perfectly. I haven’t said the right things all the time. I don’t want to sit on a place like I’m on a pedestal from anybody. I’m a normal human being that makes mistakes. For me, I think because of how fixated I was on trying to prove other people wrong, I got into a lot of habits that were bad, like reading stuff and reacting emotionally. That’s just not who I am.”
Irving, 26, said he’s off social media to “disconnect myself to focus on me, rather than getting information and validation from everyone else.” However, he acknowledged his standing as a star NBA player can require a different level of awareness.
“Being one of the top guys in the league, this all comes with it,” Irving said. “It’s a responsibility that I have to make sure that I know who I’m doing this for and know why I’m doing this. It’s for the players that are coming behind me who will be in this league and setting an example for them on how to handle things and how to evolve within your career. … I’m still learning, bro. I come from a suburb of New Jersey. I’m not used to all this [attention].”
Irving called James earlier this year seeking leadership advice and offered an apology for being a tough teammate to deal with earlier in his career when the two were teammates in Cleveland. He’s taken those lessons and tried to apply them to his own brand of leadership late in the season, especially in front of microphones.
“I just want to make sure this locker room understands who I am and what I represent,” Irving said. “I’m trying to make sure that they set a great example for young players that are coming after them as well. Like I said, I haven’t said the right things and done all the right things, and I don’t ever want to compare myself to perfection. But I can tell that I’m definitely learning from the older players, the players that are my age and the younger players on how to deal with the evolution of just media. It’s a platform now, it’s an entire industry that bothers a lot of people, entertainers, athletes. Being at the click of a button and someone commenting on your life all the time and you’re seeing it. It doesn’t make you feel good when you’re feeding yourself that.”
Read the full Yahoo story here.