Come get your man, Boston Celtics fans.
Shortly after the dudes in green fell to the New York Knicks on Thursday, flat-earth truther and woke-as-hell Kyrie Irving was asked, rather innocuously, how it felt to be playing on Christmas Day (Monday, Dec. 25) against the Washington Wizards. His response, in a nutshell: Christmas, to him, is just another day on the calendar, per ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg:
Kyrie Irving does not think of Christmas as a holiday, still excited to play in front of Boston fans on holiday. pic.twitter.com/EDnAA0nsin
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) December 22, 2017
Here’s the full transcript, for those who don’t feel like accessing the audio (courtesy of For The Win’s Charles Curtis):
“The hoopla on Christmas doesn’t really … I don’t really get into that. I don’t really necessarily think of Christmas as a holiday, so I’m just happy I get to be with my family, so looking forward to playing in front of the fans on the 25th and just playing against a high-level Washington team and going against great guys and then, of course, opening presents and that whole thing.”
Okay, so, this take is a reasonable one, in the sense that everyone’s entitled to their own belief systems. If Irving doesn’t acknowledge Christmas as a holiday, that’s fine. That’s his prerogative—his inherent right as a living, breathing human.
But, like, did he really just try to de-holiday Dec. 25 by mentioning that he’s looking forward to opening presents? Did that really happen?
Yes. Yes, it did.
Professional athletes are asked a lot of tough questions on the spot, many of which are unfair and/or designed to illicit viral responses. This wasn’t one of them. Irving did indeed just play a tightly contested game with the Knicks—during which he dropped 32 points while logging 37 minutes—but the question was as innocent as they come. And if you listen to his low-volume hesitation while answering, you can almost sense that he knows he’s about to drop a hot take.
Look, again, to each their own. Not everyone celebrates or observes Christmas to begin with. It’s fine if Kyrie views the 25th as a busy day for the NBA, and nothing else. But, seriously, come on. We can’t get past the presents thing. It sounds and reads and feels like a contradiction. Irving should probably be a little more clear—or at least a little less opaque and contradictory—next time he wants to offer his sentiments on the significance of Dec. 25.
And to be sure, there may be a next time. If you think Irving is getting away without being asked about this response leading into Boston’s Christmas day tilt with Washington, you underestimate the basketball world’s ability to dissect any sort of story and non-story from every possible angle.