Consider me the guy who still thinks Kyrie Irving might actually believe the world — his world — is flat.
It is beyond fascinating to me that a guy who was born in Australia, travels across time zones for a living and made one of the most memorable shots in NBA history is either a flat-Earther or went to extraordinary lengths to discover how people around the globe would react if he was a flat-Earther.
So, naturally, I was beyond excited to see this tweet on Monday night:
Kyrie Irving just admitted to me that he was trolling everyone about that "flat earth" stuff. Hear the interview tomorrow at 8AM on T&R!
— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) September 25, 2017
But when Irving’s media day interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” aired on Tuesday morning, he left enough ambiguity for us to interpret in our own way whether he rolls with the flat-Earth society or just trolls. So, let’s give Irving the respect he deserves and let’s let our minds wander.
Here is the excerpt including Irving’s latest flat-Earth comments:
T&R: “Is the Earth flat? I don’t know. You’re trolling everyone, aren’t you?”
T&R: “Are you trolling everyone with the Earth-is-flat thing? It’s OK. No, that’s cool. We just need to make sure.”
Irving: “Look, here it is. All I want to be able to do is have that open conversation, and when I say open, I mean open.”
T&R: “There’s no open.”
Irving: “Look, here it is. Listen to me. Look, so, what it did was, it was all an exploitation tactic. All it did was, it literally spinned [sic] the world — your guys’ world — spinned the world. It spinned the world into a frenzy, and it proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works, and it created a division, or, literally, stand up there and let all these people throw tomatoes at you or, like, have somebody think somehow that I’m this different intellectual person because I think that — or, because I believe the world is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that. It did exactly that, to where it became, like, because I think different, does that ever knock my intellectual capacity or the fact that I can think different things than you can? It did exactly that.”
T&R: “So, we are your experiment?”
Irving: “Absolutely. That was the intent behind it. Like, do your own research. Don’t come to me and ask me, like, ‘Oh, the Earth is flat?’ I was just like, bro, I don’t — at the end of the day, you’re going to feel and believe what you want to feel, but don’t knock my life over here. I’m like, yo.”
T&R: “Kyrie, we’re used to this strange stuff. Tom Brady just wrote a book that he said if you drink water, you won’t get a sunburn, so, Kyrie, we’re used to our athletes saying things, and we go, ‘Well, OK, that’s interesting.'”
Irving: “Whenever I’m doing something, I know my intent behind it, and it exactly proved what I thought it would. So, whenever I have those conversations and we’re able to sit down, I’m able to convey it in a naturally way.”
T&R: “That we are an easily troll-able group of people.”
Irving: “Hey. Hey?”
The best read I can get on that exchange is that Irving believes the Earth is flat, isn’t ruling out that possibility or, at the very least, would like everyone to be open to the idea, and he put that concept out into the world — our world — to see how we embraced his freedom of thought. Trolling, if you will.
Although, he did say the Earth “spinned,” which is either confirmation he believes we’re on a globe or what people on a flat Earth say their world did that day instead of spun. Its all open to interpretation.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
In February, Irving appeared on the “Road Trippin'” podcast with his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates. During the conversation, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye brought up conspiracy theories — a topic they’d clearly discussed with Irving on occasion in the past. It was a wide-ranging interview in which Irving confirmed his belief that movie aliens are based on real aliens, the CIA assassinated Bob Marley, the moon landing never happened, and, yes, the Earth is flat. This was his explanation:
“The fact that in our lifetimes there are so many holes and so many pockets in our history. … History is history, and it’s happened long before us, and it’s going to happen after us, and it always repeats itself somehow, in some way. All these things that they keep giving to us, all this information, I’m just saying that all these things that used to put me in fear, it makes you not want to question it naturally, because of how much information you actually can figure out and how much information there actually is out there. It’s crazy. Anything that you have a particular question on, OK — Is the world flat or round? — I think you need to do research on it. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
“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.”
“Everything that they send [to space] doesn’t come back. It doesn’t come back. There is no concrete information, except for the information that they’re giving us. They’re particularly putting you in the direction of what to believe and what not to believe, and the truth is right there. You’ve just got to go searching for it. I’ve been searching for it for a while.”
“Everything that was put in front of me, I had to be like, ‘Oh, this is all a facade.’ Like, this is all something that they ultimately want me to believe in … but now there is a certain aspect of life in which I want to tell people about, which is this true journey of really becoming a complete individual and total freedom of thought. Do you know what I’m saying?
“Question things, but even if an answer doesn’t come back, you’re perfectly fine with that, because you were never living in that particular truth. There’s a falseness in stories and things that people want you to believe and ultimately what they throw in front of us.”
The podcast, which has since grown in popularity, was released just before the All-Star break, so Irving faced a series of questions about his flat-Earth theory in New Orleans. And he doubled down on it:
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 18, 2017
He also told reporters during All-Star Weekend that “the fact that it’s a conversation, I’m glad that it got people talking. Like, ‘Does Kyrie actually think the world is flat?'” Again, the ambiguity is palpable:
I'd say Kyrie Irving makes it pretty clear here he's aware of the actual shape of the world, discusses the state of news today. pic.twitter.com/4lPH31Wshz
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 18, 2017
The topic became such a phenomenon that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about it:
“Kyrie and I went to the same college; he may have taken some different courses than I did,” Silver joked. “In all seriousness, though, as he made clear today, he was trying to be provocative, and I think it was effective. I think it was a larger comment on the so-called ‘fake news’ debate on what’s going on in our society right now, and what’s reported, and it led to an interesting discussion.
“But, personally, I believe the world is round.”
This became the predominant theory — that Irving’s casual conversation with teammates, during which the flat-Earth subject came up organically, was meant to be a commentary on President Donald Trump’s favorite media criticism. In other words, Irving repeatedly said, “The Earth is flat,” news outlets reported that he repeatedly said, “The Earth is flat,” and that was a reflection of the fake news debate?
Then, Irving returned to “Road Trippin'” in March and made that theory questionable, too:
“It’s OK to think something that I guess the majority wouldn’t think,” Irving elaborated. “I just didn’t like the fact that us being able to celebrate our individuality and things that we ultimately hold onto, and just because we don’t believe what the world thinks or a majority thinks, then why punish that? That’s the only thing I felt like got misconstrued. It’s OK to believe one thing. It’s OK to have your own thoughts and be able to function and be able to formulate your own thoughts and opinions and still be able to convey them to other people.”
So, here’s my latest theory on Irving’s flat-Earth theory: He’s into the idea of a transcendent mind or a consciousness that lives outside of the brain. In his eyes, we are not of this world. Maybe we’re all in the Matrix. Maybe this is all a dream from which we’ll wake up someday. That would explain a lot about the current state of the world, actually. Whatever the case, our individual world is what we make of it, and that transcends science and everything we’ve learned about planets orbiting space.
That’s a pretty individualistic approach, and it falls in line with everything Irving has told us about his decision to leave the Cavaliers and join the Boston Celtics in search of personal growth and learning.
Again, this is my interpretation of what Irving is saying, because he hasn’t really made his point clear yet. On the other hand, if he doesn’t believe the Earth is flat or could be flat, and this was all just a grand trolling, what are we to believe about all the other strange stuff he’s said and done this year?
After all, on “Toucher and Rich,” Irving also used the phrase “an experiment” to describe his trade request. “It was an experiment,” he said. “I took a chance.” I prefer to think we’ve been living under a flat rock this whole time, Irving was always on the Celtics, and the rest of us just woke up on media day.
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