Smith fired back at Irving on Wednesday after the Boston Celtics point guard made some interesting comments regarding NBA media coverage and its potential impact on team chemistry.
The ESPN personality doubled down Thursday on “First Take” by declaring he’s “starting to get ticked off” by Irving’s complaints.
“Let me say this: He’s beginning to tick me off. I’m starting to get ticked off,” Smith said. “And I’m gonna tell you why I’m starting to get ticked off with him. He’s acting like he don’t know. Stop.
“I’ve got news for you: Do you know that everywhere I go somebody’s filming me? Everywhere I go. Me. I don’t play in the NBA. But everywhere I go — it don’t matter if I’m with my family or my friends, no matter what I’m doing — it’s cell phone cameras all over the place. It’s very invasive. It can be a bit annoying. Sometimes people want a picture (and) they’re taking a picture of me, rather than just coming over to me and asking for a damn picture. It’s very, very annoying … It’s the world of celebrity. And Kyrie Irving, suddenly you don’t know this? Stop. Now you’re starting to whine a little bit too much.”
Irving, who created buzz over the weekend thanks to his friendly interactions with fellow impending free agent Kevin Durant during the NBA’s All-Star festivities in Charlotte, suggested this week the media can destroy locker rooms by driving a wedge between players. He also claimed media coverage and speculation about his now-famous hallway chat with Durant is the type of thing that sucks the fun out of the NBA.
This stance drew the ire of Smith, among others, because dealing with public scrutiny is a huge part of being a professional athlete. Smith is especially annoyed that Irving’s public dismay comes just months before he — one of the best players on the planet — can opt out of his contract and become a free agent, which is of major interest to sports fans everywhere.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports