In Game 4 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Kyrie Irving rolled his ankle after landing awkwardly on Giannis Antetokounmpo's foot during a play.
At the time it didn't look like anything too serious, but it cost Irving the series, which the Nets ended up losing in a neck-and-neck 7-game stretch.
Looking back on that play, a top-level personal trainer (who works with Kyrie Irving and other players) named Devin Williams revealed that Irving believes the act was a deliberate attempt by Giannis to give his team an edge in the series.
Irving himself even alluded to these suspicions after the game, when he used air quotes to describe the situation.
Kyrie Irving was discussing his injury in the second round of last year’s playoffs used air quotes when saying Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot “just happened to be in the way.”
The Bucks shocked the world when they won that Game 7. Back then, the Nets were stacked with talent and were led by Kevin Durant, who is (objectively) one of the best players in the game. The Nets had a 2-1 lead over their rivals before the incident and were only down by a few possessions. The series was still up for grabs and, had it not been for Irving's injury and Kevin Durant's enormous shoes a few games later, the Bucks might not be Champions today.
Of course, Milwaukee would go on to beat Brooklyn and advance to the Conference Finals. There, they put down the Hawks to go against Phoenix in the final round.
By the end of it, the Bucks were Champions and Giannis was raising a Finals MVP trophy.
The Nets, meanwhile, have been in a chaotic state ever since. Kyrie did not return to the court until after the New Year, James Harden forced his way out after spreading rumors of his unhappiness, and Kevin Durant has been in and out of the lineup. Brooklyn is set to finish in play-in territory after 81 games.
Whatever happens over these next few weeks, it's fair to say the team missed a huge opportunity in 2021. If you ask Kyrie, he might even say Giannis and his questionable move in Game 4 last summer cost his team a Championship.