Polarizing former Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was listed as the No. 34-ranked player in the NBA — angering NESN’s Gio Rivera and prompting him to call the (in his mind) error one that is “out of spite, disingenuous, or just flat-out wrong.”
“ESPN released its latest player rankings list for the 2023-24 NBA season, and snubbed Irving pretty harshly,” Rivera prefaced before saying, “Whether the move was out of spite, disingenuousness or just flat-out wrong, Irving clearly took issue with it.”
Irving fired back that the rankings don’t mean anything, and that he doesn’t have respect for media organizations like ESPN.
“Who. … cares,” Irving wrote in an Instagram post. “I Never will. Rankings don’t mean a damn thing in the league, especially not from ESPN or any of these other media platforms. Majority of the analysts are not credible sources in my eyes and I don’t respect them or their opinions.”
Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday has contributed more to winning than Kyrie Irving in recent years
Irving can’t take too much offense to that ranking since he was ranked ahead of several players who have contributed far more to winning in recent seasons; Ja Morant, Klay Thompson, and even James Harden to name a few.
Irving certainly hasn’t contributed more to winning than marquee offseason trade addition Jrue Holiday, whom Rivera specifically mentions alongside his rant about the supposed misfire. Though the Milwaukee Bucks had a shameful 2023 playoff exit, they were champions two years prior largely because of Holiday. In the years they didn’t win, they won 50 games each.
Irving’s behavior while on the Brooklyn Nets forced Harden and eventually Kevin Durant to demand a trade, and his arrival with the Dallas Mavericks helped cause Luka Doncic to miss the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season.
Winning still matters in the NBA, since the “#ringz” debate decides who is seen as the greatest in a historical context for many. Irving should be happy with where he was — not taking swipes at those who believe he’s capable of more, and are perhaps prodding him with the supposed slight.