With news of Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving’s trade request and the ensuing fallout, including LeBron James nodding on Instagram to some very pointed lyrics and the four-time MVP tweeting denials of reports he was “eager” to see Irving dealt and “tempted to beat his a–” if they crossed paths, monitoring of their social media accounts has reached a fever pitch.
So, when Irving unfollows James or likes a cartoon of Growth telling Comfort, “This is just not going to work out,” we analyze it to death, hoping to uncover some explanation of what the heck is happening. Because when a 25-year-old four-time All-Star wants off a team that has reached three straight NBA Finals, won the title in 2016 and features one of the game’s greatest players, nothing makes much sense.
And when Irving sings Skylar Grey’s “Coming Home” on Snapchat, that fever becomes a full-blown epidemic, because that is so clearly the song James borrowed from in the Sports Illustrated article announcing his return to Cleveland, the song that played ad nauseam over countless montages of his hero’s welcome and the song Grey performed at a 2014 rally re-introducing him to Northeast Ohio.
So kyrie just posted this on snapchat pic.twitter.com/1L2Yglc17s
— josh✨ (@KyrieTruthNLite) July 26, 2017
Lest you suggest this is all much ado about nothing, remember this would be a classic pull from LeBron’s social media playbook — a passive-aggressive strategy that was never more evident than when he took a veiled shot on Twitter at Kevin Love’s inability to “fit in” in 2015, before initially denying the tweet was directed at his teammate, and then conceding, “It’s not a coincidence, man.”
It seems almost impossible that Irving — by all accounts “a hyper-intelligent kid,” save for that whole flat-Earth thing — didn’t recognize the implications of him singing that song to the world amid reports that LeBron’s show-stealing return home may have fostered his desire to find the spotlight elsewhere and theories that LeBron’s plans to leave home pushed him to ask out before the drama of 2018.
It’s July 26, and we’re in the throes of the NBA’s dead season, so let’s get really crazy, turn the drama meter up to 11, and imagine Irving’s reasoning behind singing “Coming Home” from every angle:
1. “Hey, guys. This is just my favorite song. Seriously. Huge ballad guy. A lot of people don’t know this, but Bon Jovi grew up a half-hour from me in New Jersey, and that’s really where my love of ballads came from. To me, Skylar Grey is really just introducing the hip-hop generation to that art form.”
2. “Hello, New York! This isn’t being reported yet, because my camp isn’t the one that leaks stories, but I’m being traded to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony and some other pennies to my dollar, so I would appreciate if you give this Tri-State Area native the ‘Coming Home’ treatment you gave ‘Melo in 2011.”
3. “Hi, everyone. I didn’t ask for a trade. I just begged off the Cavs, because I’m pursuing a music career, and this is my audition tape for NBC’s ‘The Voice,’ which premieres on Monday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. ET. This is not an advertisement. Seriously, I don’t get money for this. I just love the show!”
4. “Greetings, all. Remember when everyone celebrated LeBron’s return home and that Skylar Grey song was stuck in our heads for three solid months. Well, it turns out that was all for nothing, because he’s planning to move to L.A. next year, so I’m going to mock him in front of all of you for a moment.”
5. “Aloha, peeps. I’m totally unaware that song was played a bazillion times when LeBron came back to Cleveland, but I’m still definitely interested in trolling him online, and I just so happened to be looking through my good friend Skylar Grey’s Instagram feed on the day my trade request was made public when I happened upon a photo of her riding an ATV that was captioned, “Leave’m in the dust,” so I will choose one of her songs at random to sing to you and let you decipher all of that meaning.”
6. “Hola, Los Cavs fans. I love attention as much as LeBron. This is both why I don’t want to share the stage with him in Cleveland anymore and the reason I’m singing this song to my many, many Snapchat followers, because this will surely become a thing and I’d really love to further the divide between me and the guy who treated me — a No. 1 pick — like his large son, so I can get that trade I requested.”
7. “嗨, 大家好. I’m actually just returning home from a weeklong trip through Asia for Nike, which is why I added the caption you’re ignoring: “Appreciative of the hospitality China!! #NikeKyrieWorldTour. Azurie DADA is on the way!!” So, this is really just a sweet message to my daughter that I’m sharing with my fans and has nothing to do with LeBron James or my trade request a couple weeks ago.
“And I know what you’re all thinking: You flew to China, and you still think the Earth is flat? Well, TMZ Sports is reporting that I came to my decision to ask for a trade after long conversations with a celebrity pastor who also advised Justin Bieber to cancel his world tour, so as you can see, anything and everything is on the table. Now, please stop analyzing my social media activity. That’s just weird.”
(P.S. Shout-out to your man Dan Devine for the concept we borrowed here from his “5 things Ben Simmons could’ve been saying with his eye-emoji tweet to LeBron” post last week. Go read that, too.)
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