In mid-January, on the debut episode of Channing Frye’s and Richard Jefferson’s podcast “Road Trippin’,” Kyrie Irving gave a curious answer to a question posed by host Allie Clifton. When she asked, lightheartedly, would the trio of players rather be able to control space or time, Irving quickly chose space, before diving into his reasoning.
“Time is a misconception,” Irving said, sending Frye and Jefferson into a fit of laughter. Irving was not laughing, though. He was very serious.
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That was our first glimpse into the curious inner workings of the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard’s mind, one split into two parts: basketball and conspiracy theories. A month later, a few days before the All-Star break, Irving appeared on the 7th installment of the same podcast, and went full blown Info Wars.
“For what I’ve known for many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that—can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this?” Irving said.
When Irving landed in New Orleans, he was no longer simply a point guard. He was a flat-Earth truther. For what felt like the entire weekend, Irving’s belief that the Earth has an ending point was all anyone wanted to talk about. Lest you thought maybe he was joking, Irving decided to double down on his belief when he was asked about it during a media session on Friday afternoon.
Things got progressively trippier from there. On Friday evening, Irving made an appearance at Mountain Dew’s “Courtside HQ” pop-up, where he was asked to play a handful of songs from his iPhone so fans could get a sense of the type of music he’s into. As the event wound down, a Future song began to play, and out of the darkness popped Jet Wavy, a dude who dresses up in a blue Power Ranger costume with cowboy boots and who has become a viral dancing sensation in Atlanta. Irving famously went as Wavy, albeit in a red Power Ranger outfit, to the Cavs Halloween party last year.
That interaction led to incredible photos like this, which, out of context, is almost as inexplicable as Irving’s views on the shape of the Earth.
By Sunday, Irving appeared fed up with answering reporters’ prying into whether his one year at Duke was all for naught. His answer to a question about it from ESPN’s Rachel Nichols almost made it seem like Irving’s comments were part of a one-man social experiment, a la Joaquin Phoenix’s faux-documentary “I’m Still Here.”
What’s really going on in Irving’s mind remains in question, though his views on time and a subtle reference to an apparent belief that dinosaurs never existed at all certainly gives credence to the idea that he really does think the Earth is flat and simply wasn’t prepared for the backlash. Whatever Irving truly thinks, his time at the 2017 NBA All-Star Week was one of the strangest experiences in recent memory.