Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
There were probably more than a few eye rolls from outside observers when the NBA Players Association voted Kyrie Irving as vice president.
Reports of Irving being distant with teammates earlier in his career have created a perception that the Nets star isn't a great teammate. Whether that perception is fair or not probably depends on what you've seen, what you know - or what you've heard - and how you view that information.
But one NBPA member pushed back against that Irving narrative.
"Our view of him is much different than what I've seen from some of you guys (fans/media). It's a totally different perspective," the veteran player said. "He's going to be great for our group. He's sharp, savvy and has done well off the court. Just look at his sneakers and the movie (Uncle Drew). He's going to help push us forward."
Irving, who is undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, was voted as one of six Players Association vice presidents during the All-Star break. Each team's union representative voted for the positions on the association's executive committee.
A second veteran player brushed off the idea that Irving was miscast in a leadership role.
"Don't see that at all," the player said of Irving, who said last season that a death in his family impacted his ability to lead the Celtics. "Perception isn't always reality. He's going to be great for us."
Irving, who has one of the most successful shoe lines among NBA players, said in a statement that he felt that this was the right time for him to join the union's leadership team.
"I have been an observer and a participant in union affairs for a while, but for the most part, I was off on the sidelines, supporting our Executive Committee as they made important decisions," he said. "At this point in my career, I wanted to join forces with those guys and take a bigger role outside of the basketball court and within our union. I want to help move the union forward with innovative ideas, not only on social issues but also with business ventures into a new space."
Young Knicks Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox both believe Irving will thrive in his new role.
"I think that's a great pick," Knox said. "He's a great guy and he's going to be able to get in there and make some changes for us, help us basketball players as much as possible.
"He goes through everything that we go through, same as the other guys on the committee... They know exactly what we need, what we want as players."