Sopan Deb of The New York Times spoke with Kyrie Irving on Friday and discussed a wide variety of topics – ranging from Irving’s new “Uncle Drew” movie to whether the Celtics star truly believes the Earth is flat. Here’s what we learned:
This will be a different sort of offseason for him.
Irving said he’ll focus more on his body and getting himself mentally prepared. He added that his objective is to take it one day at a time and get back to being himself.
He noted how proud he is of his teammates for sticking together in a difficult situation.
“Obviously Game 7 didn’t necessarily go the way we all planned, but I mean those guys, they gave it all throughout the whole playoff run,” Irving said.
He won’t budge on his future with the Celtics.
Deb didn’t include this nugget in the story, but he asked Irving about whether the point guard sees Boston as a long-term destination.
DELETED SCENES: Asked Kyrie Irving if he sees himself as Celtic long term. pic.twitter.com/VasLSG2PHP
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 9, 2018
Irving, who has the option to opt out of his deal and become a free agent at the end of next season, said he’s focused on winning a championship this coming year.
“Well, I mean I know that question is going to come up a lot over the next year, just based upon where my deal is,” Irving said. “And, you know, that time will arise, and when it does, I think I’ll have a better, clear, and concise answer for a lot people that are going to ask.”
He had a solo in a production of “High School Musical.”
Irving was the basketball player who wanted to become a chef in St. Patrick High’s production. This time he wasn’t only cooking defenders on the court. He was discussing crème brûlée in front of a different sort of captivated audience.
He said it was an opportunity to get rid of his public speaking nerves and feel comfortable talking in front of a large audience.
“I knew that if I could sing and act onstage, then I should be able to publicly convey what I was thinking and what was on my mind,” Irving said in the interview.
He met with an acting coach for “Uncle Drew.”
Much like basketball, Irving believes acting is all about repetition. He worked with his coach to perfect shots, saying he never got frustrated in the process.
“Uncle Drew,” which hits theaters June 29, features Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, and Reggie Miller, and Irving is the star of the show. He had to juggle acting, basketball, and trade rumors all at the same time, so it was certainly a hectic stretch.
“There were definitely times on the set where it got maniacal for the amount of hours we worked,” Irving said. “I wasn’t used to that, 16-hour shoot days. That was a lot. So it was an adjustment from that aspect. But I enjoyed the acting.”
He hopes to one day own a television network.
Irving said he enjoys production, ownership, and working toward something he can really be proud of. He said he’s a big fan of creative expression, whether it’s acting, music, or seeing art.
It’s not just a pipe dream, either. Irving said he’s more or less starting his own production company – collaborating with great influencers and people that inspire him. It’s still in its infant stages, but his focus is on becoming a content creator with the hopes of owning his own television network down the road.
He said he’s not bored easily, but noted he has a wide range of interests outside of basketball.
Irving considers himself a generational leader and likes analyzing the behavior of other humans from a sociological and psychological standpoint. He relishes the role of contrarian and embraces differing philosophies.
“To do that, it takes a long, long time of learning about other human beings, history, and incorporating all that into things that I love,” Irving said.
As for the flat vs. round Earth debate, his main goal is to spark discussion
Does he really believe the Earth is flat? Or does he not know?
“That’s what I’m asking you,” Irving grills Deb. “No, no, no. Can you openly admit that you know the Earth is constitutionally round? Like, you know that for sure? Like, I don’t know.”
**NEW**: In a lengthy (and remarkable) interview with Kyrie Irving, he repeatedly questioned whether the Earth is flat or round — his most extensive comments to date on the subject.https://t.co/r5kcolLMjz pic.twitter.com/Q1FKuCjz8m
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 9, 2018
Irving said he was never trying to convince anyone that the world is flat. He admits he doesn’t really know himself, but he believes it’s enjoyable to think about.
“It is absolutely fun, because people get so agitated and mad,” Irving said.
He can’t say with certainty that pictures taken by astronauts are real. Irving just hasn’t convinced himself one way or the other. His main focus is on using his name and brand to spearhead discussion and debate.
“I don’t limit that to not being real,” he said. “You know what I’m saying? I haven’t convinced myself all the way like everything that has been given to us is fake. No. But you also know that a lot of history has been distorted over time. That’s something that I’m always aware of. I’m not against it all.”
He hopes to inspire kids to do their own research.
Irving believes young students should have the freedom to study and learn themselves.
“Not everyone thinks the same. Not everyone feels the same,” he said.
He wants to help people veer away from choosing the popular opinion simply because it’s the easy way out. The flat Earth debate is a means of facilitating that mindset.
Irving has certainly sparked discussion.