Kyrie Irving should retire from basketball

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Stephen A. Smith believes Kyrie Irving should retire from basketball.

The ESPN hot-take artist thinks Irving’s personal leave of absence is proof his heart isn’t into the game and he owes it to fans, the Nets organization and his teammates to step away.

“He’s not worth [the drama] at all,” Smith said on the network on Wednesday. “Matter of fact, let me say this straight up and down: I think Kyrie Irving should retire. I think he should announce his retirement today. Clearly, you don’t want to play basketball bad enough.”

The 28-year-old Irving will miss his fifth straight game when the Nets take on the Knicks Wednesday night at the Garden. His absence is believed to be because he is upset over the US Capitol riot. But on Monday night, a video surfaced of a maskless Irving at what appeared to be a family birthday party.

While the video was not dated, his father, Drederick, turned 55 on Monday and sister, Asia, turned 30 on Tuesday. Then, on Tuesday, Irving was spotted in a video-call launch party for Tahanie Aboushi, a Democratic candidate for Manhattan district attorney.

Stephen A. Smith, Kyrie Irving
Stephen A. Smith, Kyrie Irving
Getty Images

“Kyrie Irving has not prioritized basketball, but I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play all together,” Smith said. “I’m saying he hasn’t prioritized it, and how fair was that to Brooklyn Nets? How fair is that to Sean Marks? How fair is that to Steve Nash — a coach that he endorsed bringing on board, a coach that he wanted, a coach that he fully supported? How fair is that to his brotha, Kevin Durant?”

Smith commended Irving for his good work off the court, but also noted that he could do those things while still playing.

“Here’s the problem that I have: He acts like he can’t chew gum and walk at the same time,” Smith said.

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