Kyrie Irving has been in the news a bunch lately, what with his alleged desire to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers via trade. But his opinions also are making waves in an entirely different arena: middle-school classrooms.

NPR’s Avi Wolfman-Arent wrote a story this week about how teachers are battling the onslaught of fake news that is reaching their students and uses the example of middle-school teacher Nick Gurol, who says his students think the Earth is flat because Irving said so on a podcast.

“And immediately I start to panic. How have I failed these kids so badly they think the Earth is flat just because a basketball player says it?” He says he tried reasoning with the students and showed them a video. Nothing worked.
“They think that I’m part of this larger conspiracy of being a round-Earther. That’s definitely hard for me because it feels like science isn’t real to them.”

If you recall, Irving made his flat-Earth claims in February on a podcast hosted by Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, steering a discussion about whether aliens exist toward more conceptual matters. The Post’s Jake Russell had the transcript:

“The Earth is flat,” Irving, who spent some time at Duke before entering the NBA draft, repeated three times.
“The fact that in our lifetimes that there are so many holes and so many pockets in our history … History is history, and it’s happened long before us, and it’s going to happen after us, and it always repeats itself somehow, in some way,” Irving said. “All these things that they keep giving to us, all this information, I’m just saying that these things that used to put me in fear, it makes you not want to question it naturally, because of how much information you actually can figure out and how much information there actually is out there. It’s crazy. Anything that you have a particular question on, ‘Okay, is the Earth flat or round?’ I think you need to do research on it. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
When asked who “they” is, Irving denied that it was “the man.”
“For what I’ve known for many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that — can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this?”

Irving later was asked by ESPN’s Arash Markazi later about whether he’s actually seen a photo of the very round planet Earth.

“I’ve seen a lot of things,” Irving replied.

In March, Irving again went on the Jefferson/Frye podcast to revisit the issue, and he seemed to pat himself on the back for starting a conversation about a question that was definitively answered many, many centuries ago.

“And then you got all these science experts, guys that have been studying the space, the earth, everything for so many years,” Irving said. “And I’m sitting back and I’m like, ‘Okay, the fact that, you know, that this is opening up conversation, I’m happy with that.’ The fact that it became a conversation starter and honestly people were asking me questions and they were looking at me like I didn’t have a brain on, or my parents didn’t raise me the right way, or something like that, there’s something definitely wrong with this kid — that’s when I started to kind of, I took a step back and I was like, ‘Okay, this is more than just what I just said.’ This right here opened up a whole bunch of things. A whole bunch of information as well.”

Fast-forward a couple of months, and Irving apparently is believing the theories that LeBron James will bolt from Cleveland again and thus wants to beat him to the punch. That one might not be too far-fetched.

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