The Kyrie Irving theme sent some serious sparks through the ESPN studio during the taping of «First Take» on Monday morning.
Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams had a heated conversation when Irving’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks was discussed.
Smith and Williams veered off on various topics as the segment began, including George Floyd, the COVID-19 vaccine, and anti-Semitism, all of which involve Irving in some way.
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But when Williams hinted that Smith seemed to have a personal vendetta against Irving, the show went off the rails a bit.
«You’re the one saying that I’m being sensitive and whining and complaining, but you’re the one who seems very emotional right now about it,» Williams said. «Come on. I’m not here on national television absolving Kyrie Irving of every decision. I’m not going to go back and recount every decision. I’m just saying how interesting it is to me, it has such a huge drive in particular with you more than anything with any other person».
Smith began to taunt Williams.
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“What I would ask is that you do me a favor: stop telling us what you find interesting and just tell us what you feel. You say: ‘I find it interesting’. You always say that. Say what you’re saying! What are you saying?
Williams later told Smith bluntly that it seems personal when Irving is mentioned.
«You of all people, with all the interest you have, have the nerve to sit here on national television and tell me I’m getting personal with a player? I don’t lose any sleep,» Smith replied. «I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving. I’m passionate about the topics I’m passionate about.»
And all this was happening while NBA analyst Tim Legler sat on the panel and watched.
The show’s host, Molly Qerim, quickly moved on to the next segment once she found the right opportunity, as both Williams and Smith kept talking back and forth.
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The Nets traded Irving to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and several second-round picks, according to multiple reports.
It was quite a tumultuous tenure for Irving, though he did send a message to Nets fans as he heads to Dallas.
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«Thank you NetsWorld fans and supporters for the Love on and off the pitch,» he tweeted. «I will always be grateful that I was able to live my dream that I had as a child with all of you. It will always be love from me and my family.»