NBA

If it's harsh, stay the f*** out – Kyrie Irving defends his leadership

By Sports Desk January 17, 2020

Kyrie Irving stands by his criticism of some Brooklyn Nets team-mates and defended his leadership style as he insisted he is not a "f****** a*****e".

Irving – who joined the Nets as a free agent in the offseason – made headlines this week when he claimed the team had "glaring" needs following a 117-106 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, the 27-year-old, a one-time NBA champion and a six-time All-Star, believes he was right to criticise his team-mates and cites his career achievements as the basis for taking a leadership role.

"It's probably a tell-tale sign of the career that I've had, some of the moves that I've made individually as well as coming to different environments and organisations," Irving told reporters in a video shared by SNYtv.

"At the end of the day, it's an entertainment league. We're drama-filled, everything revolves on these media platforms, which is part of society. I can't really do anything about it, except really be a pillar in our locker room and when I'm out there, winning, that's what it comes down to.

"It's not like I'm a f****** a*****e shouting all of the time in the locker room.

"I'm going to continue to push, demand greatness from my team-mates and we go from there. If it's harsh as a leader or it's too much for anybody, you're not in our locker room – stay the f*** out, it's as simple as that."


Irving also insisted he has earned the right to be respected and listened to by his team-mates, as he attempts to propel the Nets towards a championship win.

"At the end of the day, my name is in a lot of people's mouths all of the time," Irving added.

"I've earned that respect because of how great I am as a player and there's still more goals I want to accomplish in this league and I can't do it without improving an organisation and winning a championship, and that's what it comes down to."

The Nets are eighth in the Eastern Conference with an 18-22 record for the season, with pacesetters the Milwaukee Bucks next up on Saturday.

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