Kyrie Irving has been in the limelight ever since his first season at Duke. With being a public figure for so long, he has garnered some high profile fans who adore the young superstar or have lasting friendships with the point guard. He has also rubbed people the wrong way, forcing those to dislike or hate Uncle Drew, and not just because he played at Duke.
His most recent actions, whether it be on the court or off, have cause many people to lean a certain way on how they feel about the young superstar. The events that happened recently, finally being shipped from Cleveland upon requesting a trade because he wanted to be "the man" somewhere, has caused a divide between NBA fans and celebrities. This will be a list of those people who love Irving for the superstar he is, and those who think he is non deserving of that kind of support and may actually hate the new Celtics point guard.
15 Love: Michael Rapaport
Many people are blaming Irving for the turmoil that has occurred in the most recent months with the Cavaliers and the star, but Michael Rapaport is not having any of it. The actor is actually coming to the defense of Irving, claiming that the hostile environment in Cleveland is a product of LeBron James. In a rant against James, Rapaport insisted that he was proud of Irving for wanting to rid himself of The King's shadow, and for wanting to get out the city of Cleveland.
All this love could have been due to the fact that Rapaport is an avid Knicks fan, and was hoping Irving would be traded to New York to resurrect the franchise.
14 Hate: Dion Waiters
The pre-second LeBron era in Cleveland was a disaster, and the relationship between these two teammates soured as the losses piled up. Waiters did not get along with Irving while they were trying to co-exist in the back court, and once LeBron got to town, Waiters did not get along with anyone. He believed that he was better than Irving, and that David Blatt and the Cavs front office were favoring Kyrie, rather than letting Waiters shine in a more prominent role. Often times the two would freeze each other out on the court during Irving's early years in the league, resulting in a large amount of friction between these former teammates.
When it was announced that Kyrie would like to get traded to Maimi, listing them in his preferred destinations, Waiters had this to say, "Just know there's an alpha male over there in myself."
13 Love: Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson has gone to three straight Finals with Kyrie Irving. So when rumors about him wanting a trade first came out, Jefferson defended his now former teammate probably better than anyone. On his podcast, Road Trippin', Jefferson explained how hard the last few years have been for the young star. He used the examples of the constant changing of coaches, being the man before LeBron came back, and that the whole organization told him for years it would be his team when he was drafted number one overall.
Many teammates would feel slighted over the fact that their starting point guard requested a trade after such a string of success, but it looks like Richard Jefferson is the one standing up and showing his love for Irving.
12 Hate: Mike Brown
It is not shocking that Mike Brown is on this list, as he was the coach for a 21 year old Kyrie Irving who just came off two seasons of barely winning 20 games. Irving did not take Brown's coaching style too kindly, and the two clashed on numerous occasions. In recent years, Irving has expressed that he wishes the rocky relationship between them did not have to happen, with him explaining that most of the issues were because of how young he was. Due to the inability for the two to get along and have a healthy relationship, Dan Gilbert decided to fire Mike Brown a second time, with Irving taking most of the blame for Brown getting fired.
11 Love: Rick Ross
Very few NBA players have been lucky enough to have their name be the title of a rap song, but Kyrie Irving is among the chosen few. Rick Ross released the track "Kyrie" in honor of the point guard in November of 2016. The song shouts out Uncle Drew in the last line of the chorus, "I am standing out the roof, jersey Kyrie Irving." Rick Ross wanted to pay homage to the star after the team's NBA Finals victory by way of a crucial shot by Irving, and because of how big of a fan he is.
The two had an exchange of Twitter after the song was released, where Rick Ross tweeted out an old photo of the two at a night club. Irving responded shortly after, "Appreciate the love brother." Over the years, the two have exchanged on Twitter multiple times, showing support for one another.
10 Hate: Joe Praino
Joe Praino is a comedian who is also the co-host of The Dirty Sports podcast. On that podcast, he has ripped Irving multiple times for his most recent actions. Praino believes that if Kyrie would just stand in the corner catching wide open passes from LeBron James, he would easily average 25 points a game in a manner that doesn't hurt the team.
He also thinks it is crazy that Kyrie is following the footsteps on Kobe Bryant and trying to be "the man" on a team when the best player of all time is leading them to the Finals every single year. Praino, a Knicks fan as well, had no interest in a Melo for Irving swap unlike Michael Rapaport, claiming that the two play the exact same style of selfish ball which would make no sense whatsoever.
9 Love: Josh Hairston
Josh Hairston was someone who grew up playing against Kyrie Irving, and ended up being one of his closest friends during Irving's one year with the Blue Devils. Before that season at Duke, the two became very close while preparing for the year. More recently, the two reunited along with the most recent Duke star, Jayson Tatum, for a trip to the Bahamas. This was in the middle of trade rumors, and when the Cavs front office announced that they had not had communication from Irving in days. The love between these two former Blue Devils runs deep, as we can see from Hairston's personal Instagram page. Photos of the two are littered across his page, and it is easy to see why these two have remained such good friends over the years.
8 Hate: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Kyrie Irving thinks that the Earth is flat, which immediately puts him in the doghouse of world renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson believes that he has the right to say whatever he thinks about the world, but that he should be sticking to things that are basketball related, rather than being impressionable on the young minds of some of his fans. Tyson's issue wasn't that he believed the Earth was flat, because science, but rather a well known figure confusing the minds of those who idolize him. Tyson ended a TMZ interview about Kyrie with this statement, "Take everyone who thinks the world is flat, and launch them into space, and see if there is enough budget to bring them back." Harsh words from a man who is usually not outspoken over these issues.
7 Love: David Griffin
David Griffin is among the few that have stood by the side of Irving amid him requesting a trade to leave Cleveland. Griffin has said on multiple occasions that Irving handled the situation perfectly, and that asking for the trade when he did, before things got worse, took courage from Kyrie. The remarks from Griffin regarding this situation seem to have little to do with Dan Gilbert not bringing back Griffin this past offseason, rather coming from someone who admires his former number one overall draft pick.
The fact that Irving is requesting a trade after playing with LeBron is something many people have had a problem with, but Griffin comes to Kyrie's support, "That (playing with LeBron) doesn’t always allow is for a player like Kyrie to test his boundaries and see how good he can really be."
6 Hate: PartyNextDoor
This whole situation is a mess of itself, but it ends with Kyrie Irving and music artist PartyNextDoor not being on the greatest of terms. The two have both previously dated singer Kehlani, and it was rumored that she cheated on Irving with her ex boyfriend PartyNextDoor. Those rumors escalated after Kehlani had an attempted suicide after the news broke. Kehlani and Irving were not together at the time though, and the whole fiasco has brought drama to all three of them that they would have wanted to avoid otherwise. PartyNextDoor was annoyed at how the whole situation played out because he was being accused of sleeping with Irving's girl, when they weren't together. It's hard to be friends with a guy after this type of drama, and the two have never been on good terms since.
5 Love: Danny Ainge
If the assets that Danny Ainge just gave up isn't a clear indication of how much he loves Kyrie Irving, I don't know what other evidence you would need. Ainge did not give up the Brooklyn Nets' first round pick for the likes of Jimmy Butler and Paul George, showing that the Celtics' front man loves the possibility of Irving staying in Boston for the long term. In the press conference after the trade was announced, Ainge had this to say, "Kyrie is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He has proven that on the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, the last three years." It will be interesting to see if their relationship continues to be this positive, as Ainge has invested long term assets into Irving, whose contract expires next summer.
4 Hate: LeBron James
There is no way that LeBron James does not feel some type of way about Kyrie wanting to leave him after all they've been through. James, a peacekeeper at all times in the media, has not said anything negative at Kyrie directly but has had some indirect shots. In his tweet asking fans to celebrate Irving, the King referred to him as "the kid." With the way James has mastered the subliminal shots on Twitter, that was no doubt a jab at Irving and his maturity level through all of this.
Irving left because of LeBron James, and there is no doubt about that, this has to leave LeBron feeling something other than love and appreciation for Irving. But other than subliminal shots we are left to wonder how James actually feels.
3 Love: Mike Krzyzewski
When taking a look at some of the things Mike Krzyzewski has said about Kyrie Irving, it is no wonder that the two have an amazing relationship. Coach K has gushed about his former player many times to the media, often claiming that Irving could be one of the best players of his generation. Even though the two were only together one season at Duke, Coach K has had an influence on Irving to this day because of his involvement with Team USA basketball. Coach K once told Irving when he was still at Duke that one day he would be the starter for the Olympic team if he played his game correctly. Irving has said that he is in awe of the coaches ability to respect each player's individuality, and that he is by far one of the greats when it comes to coaching.
2 Hate: The Splash Brothers
There is no way that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would ever publicly address there disdain for Kyrie Irving, but after some of the biggest game winning shots of the last two seasons, The Splash Brothers have to be tired of playing against him by now. With the Game 7 shot over Stephen Curry to win the NBA Finals, and Klay Thompson being on the defensive end of Irving's Christmas Day game winner, The Splash Brothers have seen some heart breaking losses due to Irving. It is no wonder that the Warriors had no interest at all in trading Klay Thompson for Kyrie Irving, as the duo of Curry and Irving would probably not get along seamlessly.
1 Love: Kobe Bryant
There is no doubt that The Black Mamba has had an influence on Kyrie Irving. After the Game 7 Finals win, Irving credited his "Mamba mentality" for the reason he hit the shot. Irving also FaceTimed with Bryant directly after the Finals victory, with Bryant congratulating the star. He said that Kobe was the third person he talked to after winning a title, after his dad and sister. Irving has been on the record saying that he has asked Kobe how to deal with living in the shadow of LBron James, and many people believe that Bryant had some influence on Kyrie ultimately asking for a trade. In 2015, Irving cited Bryant as one of his main influences, saying, "I try to emulate him, but there's not going to be anybody like him."