ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has made a name for himself over the years by never holding back when it has come to his true feelings about certain NBA and NFL players.
He has the ability to criticize an athlete as a man while still praising his performance on the court or field, something which seems to be lacking in journalism these days.
While on the “Pat McAfee Show,” Smith made it clear that he has “personal differences” with star guard Kyrie Irving, although he also lavished him with praise.
"Me and Kyrie Irving have our personal differences that I don't think will ever be settled.. that doesn't stop me from saying he's a phenomenal player"@stephenasmith #PMSinAZ pic.twitter.com/VG2V4nf8FH
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 9, 2023
Smith called Irving a “phenomenal player” while also making a clear delineation between a “superstar” and a mere “superstar player.”
According to Smith, San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan was a superstar player, as he had a legendary career, won five NBA championships and is widely considered one of the 10 greatest players ever.
But Irving, Smith said, is a superstar because he puts butts in seats and attracts attention and excitement in addition to his on-the-court exploits.
The problem is that Irving also attracts attention because of his behavior.
Early this season, he promoted a documentary that contains antisemitic content and refused to adequately explain himself when questioned about it by reporters.
Last year, he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which led to him sitting out most of the season.
The Brooklyn Nets clearly tired of Irving’s antics after three seasons and change, and on Sunday they sent him to the Dallas Mavericks after he asked to be dealt.
The Mavs now have the Herculean task of keeping him engaged and happy while meshing his talents with those of Luka Doncic.NEXT: Luka Doncic Talks About His New Superstar Teammate