So, how is he in the locker room?
“It’s not a coincidence that the last time the Nets won a title, they were led by Julius Erving,” Irving said, referencing the two ABA titles Hall of Famer Julius Erving won with the then-New York Nets in 1974 and 1976. “And now, we have another Irving. I’m just saying.”
The implication was that the Brooklyn Nets were eventually going to win it all again because they employed another player whose name was pronounced the same. Irving was half-joking, half-serious but LeVert was fully confused. Realizing that LeVert wasn’t really feeling his name theory, Irving tried to enlist support from Theo Pinson. Then he called out for Taurean Prince, who furrowed his brow, perplexed.
“I’m just saying. Erving. Irving,” the mercurial All-Star point guard turned defense attorney said, making his case, to no avail.
“How do you spell his name again?” Pinson responded, hoping that Irving would realize how silly he was being with the Dr. J chatter and just…stop.
“He’s with an E,” Irving said, acknowledging the difference, “but how do you say it?”
Irving smiled and nodded. He wouldn’t relent. His teammates wouldn’t, either. Laughter ended the discussion.
Don’t read too much into this exchange. We don’t know exactly what LeVert, Pinson and Prince thought of it or their exact relationship with Irving.
I enjoy Irving’s weird rants in small doses. However, when I get tired of them, I can roll my eyes then move onto something else.
His teammates can’t as easily escape. By nature of their jobs, they must spend a lot of time with Irving. Because he holds a natural leadership position, they have even more reason to engage him.
Again, I wouldn’t read too much into this anecdote alone. But this isn’t the first clue Irving can be insufferable, either.
Nobody should expect Irving to be perfect. That’s an unfair standard. He should also realize how he comes across to those around him.