One NBA team to bank on non-sci­ence guy

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - THOM LOVERRO

On the grow­ing list of rea­sons for pro­fes­sional sports fran­chises not to em­ploy ath­letes, I present to you a new one, cour­tesy of Kyrie Irv­ing.

Do you re­ally want your team to em­ploy some­one stupid enough to be­lieve the Earth is flat?

Irv­ing, as has been widely re­ported, wants out of Cleve­land. He got a look at the glory that NBA Most Valu­able Player Rus­sell West­brook en­joyed in Ok­la­homa City and James Har­den in Hous­ton — cities that I pre­sume are in view on Irv­ing’s flat Earth — and de­cided that was a bet­ter world than play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to LeBron James, even on cham­pi­onship teams.

At first, teams were re­port­edly lin­ing up to get in on the Kyrie Irv­ing sweep­stakes, but that num­ber has dropped. Three teams — Detroit, Mi­ami and Phoenix — are now con­sid­ered the hot des­ti­na­tion spots.

Any­where Irv­ing goes, he will be the leader, the star that con­trols the fu­ture of that team.

If you are an NBA ex­ec­u­tive, do you re­ally want to put your team in the hands of a player who be­lieves that some­thing so ba­sic and ir­refutable — the shape of Planet Earth — is not what sci­ence proved to us cen­turies ago?

If you are a fan of the Suns, Pis­tons or Heat, do you re­ally want to root for a player so mis­guided — so dys­func­tional — that he be­lieves the world is flat?

This isn’t funny. Kyrie Irv­ing is the poster child for the war on sci­ence.

He be­came the sym­bol of that in­for­ma­tion bat­tle when he let the world know in Fe­bru­ary in a pod­cast in­ter­view that he be­lieved the world is flat.

“This is not even a con­spir­acy

the­ory,” Irv­ing said “The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat . ... It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”

He later tried to dif­fuse the dam­age — and there was dam­age — in sub­se­quent in­ter­views. “The fact that that could be news all over the world just shows you how it is,” he told re­porters. “The fact that it’s a so­cial phe­nom­e­non — ‘Kyrie thinks the world is flat’ — is hi­lar­i­ous to me . ... That it could ac­tu­ally be news.”

But he dou­bled down on the fool­ish­ness in an in­ter­view with ESPN when he said. “I think peo­ple should do their own re­search, man,” Irv­ing said. “Hope­fully they’ll ei­ther back my be­lief or they’ll throw it in the wa­ter. But I think it’s in­ter­est­ing for peo­ple to find out on their own.

“I’ve seen a lot of things that my ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem has said that was real that turned out to be com­pletely fake. I don’t mind go­ing against the grain in terms of my thoughts.” “Thoughts?” What “thoughts?” “I’m glad that it got peo­ple talk­ing like this: ‘Kyrie ac­tu­ally thinks the world is flat,’” he told re­porters.

Yes. This is healthy de­bate — the shape of Planet Earth.

I vote isosce­les tri­an­gle.

Here is the healthy de­bate that Irv­ing has cre­ated — prob­lems for sci­ence teach­ers try­ing to con­vince their stu­dents that what they teach is the truth, and what their fa­vorite NBA player be­lieves is garbage.

An NPR ar­ti­cle told the story of Nick Gurol, whose mid­dle school stu­dents be­lieve the Earth is flat.

“Im­me­di­ately I start to panic,” Gurol said. “How have I failed these kids so badly they think the Earth is flat just be­cause a bas­ket­ball player says it?”

He told NPR he tried rea­son­ing with stu­dents and showed them a video. Noth­ing worked. “They think that I’m part of this larger con­spir­acy of be­ing a round-Earther,” he said. “That’s def­i­nitely hard for me be­cause it feels like sci­ence isn’t real to them.”

There are far more egre­gious crimes and mis­de­meanors com­mit­ted by ath­letes that are over­looked — see Greg Hardy, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and the Dal­las Cow­boys. And right now we are en­gaged in a de­bate about whether or not the NFL is black­balling quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick for his re­fusal to stand for the na­tional an­them last sea­son in protest of the treat­ment of mi­nori­ties in Amer­ica. So Kyrie Irv­ing’s mo­ronic ram­blings about the flat Earth may seem triv­ial in com­par­i­son.

Ex­cept there should be some­thing morally in­sult­ing to both own­ers and fans to have the NBA’s Non-Sci­ence Guy be their multi-mil­lion dol­lar star.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cleve­land Cava­liers guard Kyrie Irv­ing, who said in a Fe­bru­ary pod­cast in­ter­view that he be­lieves the world is flat, is the trade tar­get of at least three NBA teams.

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