Ex-Celtics star Isaiah Thomas backs Kyrie Irving after Kevin Garnett criticism
Former Boston Celtics great Kevin Garnett recently made headlines saying that Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was not cut out mentally to lead his former franchise. Now, Washington Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas has come to Irving’s defense.
Thomas had been tasked with leading Boston to an Eastern Conference title before he was swapped for Irving and landed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He does not feel that Garnett’s criticisms may be far-fetched but he pointed out that it’s unfair to say Irving lacked cojones, via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News:
“It does (take cojones to play for the Celtics). Not saying Kyrie doesn’t have them because he hit one of arguably the biggest shots in NBA Finals history, he’s one of the best point guards to ever play the game,” Thomas said. “That’s just like Boston and New York (the Knicks). You have to have a different type of skin to be able to succeed there.
Thomas added that Irving simply did not live up to the expectations that come with playing for a franchise like the Celtics.
“They won 17 championships. They have 30 jerseys retired. So it’s expectations like you can do great but we need better and it’s always been like that,” IT furthered. “The media attention of putting on a Celtics jersey, a Knicks jersey, a Lakers jersey, those legendary teams and franchises, it’s just a little different.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to Thomas’ comments, considering expectations were already extremely high when the Celtics nearly managed win the East without Irving during his first year in Boston.
Although Kyrie still enjoyed stellar production with the Celtics the following season, Boston vastly short of expectations when they were dismantled by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round following a year filled with turmoil.
Kyrie Irving will likely continue to receive plenty of flak from those aligned with the Celtics organization. Regardless, it is clear that Isaiah Thomas is not going to let facts get in the way of forming his own opinion on a matter that he experienced firsthand for himself.