Dear Kyrie Irving:
I get it! Why doesn’t anybody else?
When it happened — a long, long time ago in modern-day media time — I never thought I’d be writing about it because I never dreamed I’d be the only person who seems to understand what you were doing.
I figured your point would be obvious to anyone with a microphone or a pen, as well as the majority of basketball fans.
When you said you believe the Earth is flat, you were taking a subtle — apparently too subtle for most — shot at the concept of “alternative facts.”
You were making an editorial comment about the assertion that there can be two factual realities, depending upon where you’re sitting.
There can’t be. You know that and I know that, even if presidential spokesperson Kellyanne Conway won’t acknowledge it.
Heck, Kyrie, we know you were accepted at Duke University. Although borderline applicants are often admitted to colleges more readily if they are star athletes, Duke ain’t exactly the University of Phoenix.
You comprehended and accepted basic science at an early age. You passed your standardized tests. You got into Duke, listed by U.S. News & World Report as the eighth-best university in the nation. Anyone who has watched your interviews over the years can tell you are bright and articulate.
Not for one millisecond have you believed the Earth is flat.
When you realized your facetious comment was completely misunderstood and starting to spread at the speed of light, you were astounded. You watched it grow bigger and bigger until it traveled all the way around the globe.
Er, sorry — traveled all the way to the edge of the Earth and back.
You were trending on Twitter, and you were roundly ripped, including this shot on Yahoo Sports:
“The best part about Irving believing the Earth is flat is that he also believes in aliens. Like, does he think the Earth is just at the bottom of the universe? If we walk in a straight line, does the Earth go on forever, or can somebody fall off the end? Do the aliens live on flat planets? Why don’t we see those flat planets? Why do we see other round planets? Why is the moon round?”
On the Duke University sports website, a schoolteacher in California wrote: “This poor guy was obviously failed by all the educational institutions he attended.”
Two weeks later, you’re still getting hammered on sports talk shows. The only people who seem to realize you weren’t serious are your teammates.
This whole thing started during a completely off-the-wall episode of a podcast put together by two of the funniest men in basketball, your teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
“The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat,” you chirped during the taping, done during a team flight. “... It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
Things really blew up a couple of days later when the national media were gathered for All-Star Weekend.
Just to make sure I’m not the one who has a screw loose, I went back and watched the infamous pre-All-Star Game interview.
Not once did you say you believe the Earth is flat. You were being badgered over and over by one particular reporter who demanded to know, on the record, where you stood. And you found that both amusing and absurd. You strung him along.
Yep, the Earth is flat.
And the moon landing was faked.
And the NBA Finals were fixed.
And Bush bombed the World Trade Center.
And we have a cure for cancer but it’s being hidden so the medical establishment can continue to make tons of money.
All of those are considered “facts” in certain circles, circles that have grown depressingly large.
These days, anything that is typed onto the internet by a 39-year-old guy sitting in his underwear in his mother’s basement can be taken as gospel.
And anything uttered by a superstar athlete can make international news.
I agree with you, Kyrie. The whole thing is ridiculous. And scary.
To me, at least, you more than proved your point.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31