As the Celtics' fortune on the court improves, so does the team's attitude off of it.
Boston's rough patch prior to its current three-game win streak was highlighted by Kyrie Irving's distaste for the media. Irving was bothered by the media's coverage of his impending free agency, and called the media "outrageous" in a separate rant.
But following the C's victory over the Lakers on Saturday night, Irving apologized for the way he has handled the press throughout the season.
“The way I’ve handled things, it hasn’t been perfect,” Irving told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I take full responsibility for. I apologize. I haven’t done it perfectly. I haven’t said the right things all the time. I don’t want to sit on a place like I’m on a pedestal from anybody. I’m a normal human being that makes mistakes. For me, I think because of how fixated I was on trying to prove other people wrong, I got into a lot of habits that were bad, like reading stuff and reacting emotionally. That’s just not who I am.”
Irving acknowledged the need to set an example for his young teammates and peers around the NBA.
“Being one of the top guys in the league, this all comes with it,” Irving said. “It’s a responsibility that I have to make sure that I know who I’m doing this for and know why I’m doing this. It’s for the players that are coming behind me who will be in this league and setting an example for them on how to handle things and how to evolve within your career.”
“I’m still learning, bro. I come from a suburb of New Jersey. I’m not used to all this [attention]," he added.
Irving was on the receiving end of more criticism when he told reporters he "didn't really come into this game to be a celebrity." That's because last summer, Irving put himself in front of plenty of cameras to shoot his "Uncle Drew" movie.
“My [Uncle Drew] character, I never took any acting classes. I didn’t put any extra work into it. It was just something I was able to do and it became this,” Irving said. “Look, I respect the ones that came before me, but they didn’t endure social media, the 24/7 news cycle. [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver was right; it really affects people in different ways. These are just different times. People are dealing with anxiety, depression and other disorders that affects their well-being. Some people can’t handle all of this, and we need to be mindful of that."
While his leadership has been in question over the last month or so, Irving still hopes to set an example for his teammates and makes it clear he accepts the responsibility that comes along with doing so. He says abandoning social media was the first step in that process, and pledges that his outbursts with the media won't continue.
“I just want to make sure this locker room understands who I am and what I represent,” said Irving. “I’m trying to make sure that they set a great example for young players that are coming after them as well. Like I said, I haven’t said the right things and done all the right things, and I don’t ever want to compare myself to perfection. But I can tell that I’m definitely learning from the older players, the players that are my age and the younger players on how to deal with the evolution of just media. It’s a platform now, it’s an entire industry that bothers a lot of people, entertainers, athletes. Being at the click of a button and someone commenting on your life all the time and you’re seeing it. It doesn’t make you feel good when you’re feeding yourself that.
“And I had to get off of Instagram, I had to get off of Facebook, I had to get off of Twitter," he continued. "I had to get off of those things to disconnect myself to focus on me, rather than getting information and validation from everyone else. So, once that started to progress, then I had a lot to fight back about. I was just sick of it after a while. I’m a human being who happens to be a hooper. This is the responsibility that I have. I’m done complaining about it. I have feelings about it, but I’m not going keep badgering the media, keep badgering other people, keep badgering this or that. It’s about moving forward and keeping my sanctuary as safe as possible. As long as I go out there and handle my business, I don’t have anything else to worry about. As long as I go out there and do my thing and make sure my teammates are playing well and their spirits are right, I’m doing my job.”
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