The NBA is currently reviewing videos of a maskless Kyrie Irving partying with family after missing the Brooklyn Nets' last four games for "personal reasons." The NBA's COVID-19 guidelines forbid players from going to clubs and lounges, as well as social gatherings of more than 15 people.
A joyful Irving is seen dancing and smiling during the gathering, which is believed to have been for his sister's birthday. In a separate clip, Irving also appeared at a virtual fundraiser for Manhattan District Attorney candidate, Tahanie Aboushi, which occurred 30 minutes before the Nets' game against the Denver Nuggets.
While the Nets organization has not been able to provide details of their star's absence, Stephen A. Smith spoke out against Kyrie's behavior during Wednesday morning's episode of First Take. When asked if the former Duke Blue Devil was worth the drama, Stephen A. offered a negative response and took it a step further by suggesting Kyrie retire from the NBA.
"He's not worth [the drama] at all. Matter of fact, let me say this straight up and down: I think Kyrie Irving should retire," Smith said. “I think he should announce his retirement today. Clearly, you don't want to play basketball bad enough."
The sports commentator continued by pointing out that Kyrie Irving is getting $33.4 million for the 2020-2021 season, so he's willing to forfeit game checks in order to take his own personal time off. Smith added that Kyrie has played less than 30 games since signing a four-year, $141 million contract with the team and claimed he was being unfair to the Nets and Kevin Durant.
Stephen A. continued to call for Kyrie's retirement while acknowledging the guard's philanthropic actions. However, he believes Kyrie has failed to properly prioritize his job along with his personal passions.
"Kyrie Irving, clearly, is not interested in [playing basketball], and that's the problem. So guess what? Go ahead and retire," Stephen A. Smith continued. "Go ahead and retire until you know that you're committed to play it...his heart is in the right place. He's philanthropic, he's very charitable with his time, with his donations, and things of that nature…Here's the problem that I have. He acts like he can't chew gum and walk at the same time."
If a player misses a game for a COVID-19 violation, he's expected to lose 1/72nd of his salary, according to league rules. Sources have said Kyrie Irving is not expected to return to the team for the rest of the week.
To hear the rest of Stephen A. Smith's response, click above.