It seems most of the league agrees with our position that Kyrie still has some ways to go when it comes to leadership. Most outlets (Windhorst on the Jump and his podcast, the Ringer crew) also see his public statement on calling LeBron as a failed attempt in apologizing. You can read our immediate reaction here.
Now the TNT crew joined the criticism. Last night Shaq, Kenny, and Chuck gave their two cents on Kyrie and were quite direct. Everyone agrees that he is acting the same way LeBron did when it bothered him and that his recent statement was again a backhanded criticism and not a good way to motivate his teammates. All three guys had insightful comments.
Kenny said he could understand both positions; he was “the guy” in college and “the other guy” in the pros. His experience was you don’t proclaim to be a leader; others acknowledge you as one.
Being the other, I think I never said this earlier; I never had to…when the guy told me he was the man – he wasn’t the man to me. We will anoint you; we will exalt you, we will put you on our shoulders to let you know we need you. But when you tell me to pick you up, I’m not doing that.
Kenny continued to explain how Kyrie will learn that being the best scorer, rebounder or playmaker on the team doesn’t automatically make you the leader. It’s the little things that inspire and lead a team, such as Hakeem never being late for the bus. NEVER. He never talked about how he is never late; he would just be there. As the star of the team, he didn’t have to be on time every time, but he was; and that makes an impression on a teammate, inspires a sense of responsibility towards the team.
Shaq pointed out that every time a player starts with a “these guys” referring to his teammates, he is alienating himself from the team – something a leader doesn’t do. To Shaq, it seems Kyrie wants obedience by saying “I’ve won, you haven’t, so do as I say.” Now sit down, this will shock you; Chuck was most direct of the three.
“I (Kyrie) called LeBron because I learned how to be a leader.” Well then be a leader, you don’t have to tell you a leader. What, he said, I cut through the BS Earnie. “Hey, we’re losing because these young guys in the locker room.” and I didn’t like it at all. … Like dude, we made it to the conference finals without you. … I woulda whooped his ass. Yo man, you can’t be calling me out like that.
Guess it’s time to see if Brad Stevens is the coach everyone thinks he is.