After Stephen A. Smith sounded off on Ben Simmons & Kyrie Irving, Dylan shared his own thoughts.
Video Transcription is provided below
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Dylan’s Big Picture
Dylan Bair: Paul had mentioned it in his own big picture. Talking about the NBA lottery and about one player in particular. The 76ers drafted Ben Simmons. And Ben Simmons has been pretty infamous over the last two years for sitting out. Not really having a passion for the game of basketball, really not seeming like he cares whatsoever.
He is not alone in the vitriol in many circles across the sporting world, Kyrie Irving in his own, right? Not only for his refusal to get a vaccine other individuals will feel the exact same way that he did fell in line and followed through. But he also has had a bit of a problem and a bit of a rough season this year.
And ironically, they both were on the same team. And there’s been a lot of discussions after the next season has been over about these two individuals. One person, that’s been really on top of this is Stephen A. Smith. Who has been absolutely based on how he has been reacting to what these two have done to the image of the game of basketball. It has been pretty nice to hear from someone like him.
One thing that has kind of been a fallout of that is that Kyrie Irving’s shoe deal with Nike is now falling through. It is now lapsing, it’s ceasing. And what’s significant about that is that Kyrie Irving, for sneakerheads out there, they know that Kyrie shoe was a very big seller for Nike. It was one of the top, name-brand shoes for athletes that were out on the market.
And the fact that Nike is considering having this contract lapse, it’s pretty significant. So, what we have here actually, is some audio from Stephen A. Smith, on that topic about the image issues that these two individuals have brought to the NBA. So this is courtesy of ESPN from First Take. And let’s hear what Stephen has to say about it.
Stephen A. Smith Sounds Off
Stephen A Smith: It is sending the right message without question. Because what it’s saying is, what does it matter if you’re not on the basketball court? We need you to play and see, this is the hard part about all of this other stuff. Let me, listen. People are not going to get it. I don’t give a damn, I’m going to keep saying it.
I’m going to keep saying it because the lives of the many outweigh the lives of the few. And I bring that up because we’re not taking into account the irreparable harm that Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irvings of the world have done to the game of basketball. Kyrie or Ben is a star. Ben can’t shoot. He got to overcome that.
Just nothing else about his game. That’s less the star status, his ball-handling skills, basketball IQ, his ability to finish at the basket, his athleticism, and his defensive prowess. He was my vote for defensive player of the year, last season. Ben Simmons is legit. Kyrie Irving is not good. He’s not great.
He is spectacular. The brother is box office. He is special okay. But Nike is saying, what good is all of that? If we don’t see your special skills put on display, if you’re not playing the game of basketball, what good are you to our product? And we have to take that into consideration and we have to stop ignoring it because I am assuring you.
I am promising you, I have covered this League for over a quarter-century and I know most of these owners and the commissioner, the league office. I know executives. They are COMING…
Harsh Words Coming From Stephen
Dylan Bair: That’s, that’s just strong words coming from Stephen A. not really mincing how he feels about it. And this is not the only time that he’s spoken on the subject of Kyrie Irving.
And it’s something that the NBA has had to reconcile with in terms of players sitting out on major marquee games. You know, all those rest days and things like that that have been happening. Especially lately in the NBA. And the significance of the image problem that Stephen A. is talking about, is the fact that the NBA, out of all sports, is the one that is the least respected.
They are seen as primadonnas who just get their money. They don’t care about the game. I mean, you, you have individuals like Giannis and Luka who are kind of helping a little bit with that. I mean, Luca kind of complains about fouls all the time.
But you know, you have this younger guard primarily of European descent wind up actually doing a little bit of help in that regard. But you have a lot of these other players who just look like they don’t care. They look like the shoe deals. Like the game itself, all this reputation, the thing that Michael Jordan in Larry Bird and Magic Johnson cared about so much was their legacy within the game.
I talked last week in my big picture about Winning Time, the documentary series about the Showtime Lakers. And there are just no missed words about it. These guys cared about the sport. All of them, top to bottom. Yeah, Kareem had an acting career. Yes, he had other ambitions, but Magic was able to spark something within him to be like, I want to be the best.
NBA Needs to Reconcile Their Image
And lo and behold, he’s the top scorer in NBA history because of it. These guys, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. And when you have individuals like Stephen A., who are coming out and saying these things about what they are doing to the image of the game of basketball, my big picture’s overall point is that the NBA needs to reconcile with this.
This is a major issue. And if you have guys who just straight up don’t care. I mean, Paul mentioned not only Ben Simmons, but James Harden as well. I would argue, that Harden has done the most damage to the game of basketball of any single player in its history. He has been terrible for the sport.
Just top to bottom, the way he played the game, how he traveled like a Mf-er. The way that he just didn’t care about himself and his game in the offseason. How he looked in the playoffs and his bleed over effect. How much he’s kind of tainted the water, so to speak.
And now you have guys like Kyrie and Ben Simmons doing the same sort of stuff. This is something that the NBA needs to reconcile with, or else the image problems with their players are not going to go away.