Kyrie Irving declined to sign balls for Celtics’ charity partners
It’s plainly evident that Kyrie Irving’s relationship with the Boston Celtics greatly deteriorated in his second season with the team. Additional behind-the-scenes anecdotes continue to emerge as Irving prepares to leave the organization, and the details contained in them do not portray the superstar in the most flattering light.
In an in-depth examination of where exactly everything went wrong in the Celtics’ Irving experiment, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan shares a story about how the mercurial point guard refused to play ball when it came to providing autographs for the organization’s charity partners.
“At the completion of the regular season, the team set up 100 balls in a room for their charitable partners,” MacMullan writes. “Everyone signed the balls except Irving. When pressed to do it, say team sources, he was neither aggressive nor confrontational. He merely said, ‘No, I’m not interested in that.'”
It’s also noted in the piece how the Celtics practically bent over backwards to accommodate Irving’s eccentricities and demands, but enjoyed little benefit from the efforts.
“They afforded him several perks of stardom, including assigning a security guard to his table during team charity functions and allowing him to occasionally fly separately from the team when he had outside commitments,” MacMullan adds. “Much like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who still aren’t clear on all the reasons why Irving soured on them, the Celtics remain puzzled about exactly how their prized player became so disenchanted so quickly.”
As recently as last week, Celtics boss Danny Ainge again went to bat for Irving, but any attempt to rebuild a relationship appears to be a lost cause, and the expected split is best for both the team and Irving.
It’s difficult to ascertain what the future holds for Irving, and the case can be made that the superstar may not even know himself at this point, thought there certainly are plenty of rumors and conjecture.
What can be said, however, is that any NBA team interested in taking a flier on the talented-but-enigmatic Irving in free agency should do so with their eyes wide open.