Dillon Brooks’ Kyrie Irving admiration can’t be just about basketball

Dillon Brooks’ Kyrie Irving admiration can’t be just about basketball

Photo: AP

The recent rise in profile for Dillon Brooks is a credit to him. In the current landscape of the NBA, new stars are rising with LeBron James and Kevin Durant getting older. Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are firmly among the best needle-movers in The Association. Brooks isn’t close to that talent level, but the attention he’s getting for the things he does on the court and says to the press has carved out a lane for him in the league’s diaspora. Last night however was a new low for the Grizzlies’ standout.

During last night’s game against the Mavericks, Brooks drew the defensive assignment of Kyrie Irving and the two got into it early and had a long night of trash-talking. That’s not unusual for the NBA. After the close victory over Dallas, it appeared to be water under the bridge as Brooks attempted a jersey swap, more commonly seen in soccer, with Irving as a sign of respect. Brooks received Irving’s blue smock while the Mavs guard didn’t happily accept Brooks’ jersey. “I saw that after the game. I’ll probably get it next time. … Not this time though. I was really onto the next thing, my thought process-wise,” Irving word-vomited after the game, because what in the heck does that quote actually mean? You can’t live in the moment ever?

Brooks’ fascination with Irving didn’t end after adding to his closet. He was asked in the locker room about the exchange and said this as part of his answer: “I’m a fan of Kyrie, for everything he stands for, the way he uses his platform. … “He’s just like Kobe. He’s just like Jordan and those guys. He plays the game at a different pace. He uses both hands, mid-range God. And that’s where I want to be at one day, be able to shoot the ball more.” All the comparisons to all-time basketball greats is fine, but we can’t ignore Brooks’ admiration of what he stands for and how he uses his platform. Let’s see, Irving refused to get vaccinated and pushed conspiracy theories about the health risks of protecting yourself from COVID-19. He’s a flat-Earther, and as deranged as that is, might be a little far down the totem pole of awful things he’s put into the world. Irving also refused to condemn antisemitism late last year after promoting a documentary and book overflowing with lies about the Jewish people’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade. He only posted a statement to social media “apologizing” after being suspended by the Nets.

In a true basketball sense, Irving has asked for trades at the worst times and was fined $50,000 in January 2021 for attending an indoor party and breaking the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. He had been out of contact with then-Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash for several days before then. Brooks can support whoever he chooses and in terms of basketball ability, Irving isn’t a bad choice. When you mention what he stands for and how he uses his platform, Brooks doesn’t get to cherry-pick only what he views as positive. It’s either all of it or none of it. Whatever Brooks is referring to, those uglier parts of what Irving has shown over the years have to be included. When mentioning Irving, leaving his legacy to solely on-court events isn’t possible. Irving made sure of that by speaking publicly about non-basketball issues in the past. And Brooks’ desire to be more like Irving has to include those moments.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.