It was all smiles in Brooklyn on Tuesday after Kyrie Irving dropped 50 points to lead the Nets to a 132-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Throughout the game, and in the hours after the final buzzer, the star guard drew widespread support and praise.
Stephen A. Smith, who has been among Irving's staunchest critics this season, was not as willing to celebrate his big performance.
Instead, he went off on a long rant, insisting that Nets fans should be "sick" after seeing what they've been missing all season long.
"It made me want to throw up. I'm disgusted. Because you've got a bunch of fools out there that's raving about Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant clapping and all of that. Kevin Durant should be sick. The fans who love Kyrie Irving should be sick. Cause you know what last night was evidence of? What he's robbing us of.
Find me one person who watches the game of basketball and denies how spectacular of an offensive player Kyrie Irving is. It's never happened. We've all seen this. This is nothing. He scored 50... so? Kyrie could do that in his sleep. What we talked about is that he ain't available. This is who he is. And when I saw Kevin Durant clapping like that last night and everybody raving, I got ticked off, because that;s exactly what Kyrie Irving wants to do. He wants to skip half the season, he wanna work when he wanna work. Then he wanna show up, he puts on a show, and then everybody gets caught up in the show..."
Irving, 29, has missed 49 games for the Nets this season. Before opening night, he made the decision to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine and was disqualified from action until the New Year, when the organization allowed him to join the team during away games.
In the games Kyrie has played, he has been spectacular with averages of 26.2 points and 5.4 assists per game on 47% shooting.
Unfortunately, it just hasn't been enough for a Nets team that has struggled to stay afloat this season.