It was only a matter of time before Kyrie Irving, who apologized in October for claiming the Earth was flat, was asked for his thoughts on the firestorm over Steph Curry’s suggestion that the moon landing was faked. In extended comments Tuesday, Irving bristled at how he perceived he and Curry were mischaracterized as “just jocks” who foolishly subscribed to beyond-the-fringe beliefs.
Curry offered his own apology last week, saying that he was only joking. He also noted “how stupid it was that people actually took that quote and made it law,” as part of “how the story took a life of its own.”
To Irving, his comments about the Earth, made in 2017 and seemingly given in a more serious tone, were of a piece with Curry’s, in that both NBA stars were simply engaging in the process of questioning what they had been told.
“We’ve been taught science, taught within our classrooms certain things, and then you get older, and you start coming into things that you have questions about,” Irving told reporters at the Celtics' practice facility. “And it’s natural to do that, as an adult, as a kid or anything like that.”
The 26-year-old guard acknowledged that he and Curry might have erred in promoting ideas without fully vetting them. He complained, however, that it was “a little unfair” that they not only had been judged by their presumed adherence to those ideas, rather than given any benefit of the doubt as people capable of doing more with their minds than execute game plans, but that their comments were splashed across social and mainstream media.
“Sometimes, I feel like — even myself — you can speak ahead of yourself, whether or not you believe it or not,” Irving said. “And you end up getting caught, because you’re on this false platform of a thing where you’re not even a human being anymore. … Now you have to fit a mold of something that you’re clearly not.
“You’re more than just a basketball player that puts it in the hoop, and they subject you to being just that,” he continued, adding that even though athletes such as himself are “not as educated” as those who have earned a “four-year degree” at a university, “Everyone feels like they have a place in this world to question anything, or question somebody.”
Irving’s comments Tuesday echoed those he made in January, when he explained that he was using his flat-Earth claim to encourage people to “do their own research and find their own knowledge instead of having knowledge just shoved to you.” He noted that, at the time, he had been “watching a whole bunch of Instagram videos,” and he admitted that he “didn’t do as much research” as he should have “in order to say something like that.”
In his October apology, the five-time all-star spoke of having wandered deep down a “rabbit hole” on YouTube and become “huge into conspiracies.” Curry’s rueful comments last week came during a conversation with retired astronaut Scott Kelly, who warned the Warriors guard about leading his fans in similarly misguided directions, ones that could prove harmful to society.
“When people believe [flat Earth or moon landing conspiracies],” Kelly told Curry, “they believe the other things that are more important, like climate change not being real or vaccines and 9/11 being a conspiracy theory.”
“I am going to educate myself firsthand on everything that NASA has done and shine a light on their tremendous work over the years,” Curry said in response. “And hopefully people understand that education is power, informing yourself is power.”
To Irving, though, his comments and those by Curry were blown well out of proportion, given that there was “world hunger going on,” as well as “political things” and “so many higher things on the totem pole of society that matter to human beings.”
“But hey,” he continued, “Steph Curry says that he doesn’t believe in the moon [landing]. It’s the thing all over. It’s on CNN, and they say we’re just jocks, we’re just athletes. But it’s on your channel, you know what I mean?"
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