Thursday morning a man going by the name of Mikey in Waltham called in to the Zolak & Bertrand radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston to participate in a wide-ranging conversation about the state of the Boston Celtics. It’s been a rough time for Celtics fans—their team disappointed last season, then failed to swing a long-anticipated blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis, and now it appears that both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will be leaving Boston in free agency. Callers into the show tended to offer armchair personnel fixes or release cathartic blasts of pointed criticism.
Not Mikey in Waltham. Mikey in Waltham called in Thursday morning to gently scold his fellow Boston sports fans for never truly embracing the blessings of Kyrie Irving, who graced their beloved team for all-too-short a period of time:
“Hey, so, I was just calling in saying that with such a rare talent like Kyrie, it’s such a shame that the, the fans didn’t welcome, welcome him in more. Talents like those are so rare, they don’t come by fast and I think it serves us right that now he’s gone and look at what we’re left with.”
That’s maybe not a take you’d expect out of prideful Celtics fans, but it’s not, like, totally insane. The call is noteworthy for another reason, though: As another caller noted several minutes later, and as several Deadspin tipsters pointed out, and as the show’s hosts would later fully accept as definitive, Mikey in Waltham’s voice sounds noticeably like that of Kyrie Irving. Listen for yourself:
To my ears, Mikey in Waltham’s inflection, slight accent, and staccato delivery sound quite a lot like Kyrie Irving. I can almost hear him intoning on the contours (or lack thereof) of our planet. To my coworkers, who frankly lack the imagination for this kind of exercise, Mikey in Waltham doesn’t sound very much like Kyrie at all. Here is a vocal comparison put together by our Lauren Theisen, ostensibly demonstrating that Kyrie’s voice is too deep to be Mikey in Waltham:
I will admit that the high-def recording of Kyrie Irving, using big microphones with poofy windscreens, sounds quite a lot deeper than the voice of Mikey from Waltham. But there are any number of factors that could account for that! Maybe Kyrie was nervous when he called into live talk radio using an alias in order to scold Celtics fans for failing to appreciate his “rare talent,” causing his voice to rise to a teenager-like tenor. Maybe he was tired and dejected in the other recording, at a post-game or post-practice podium, and his voice was hoarse and lowered. Maybe, as two uhh “experts” insist over on Quora, the puny microphone of a telephone fails to pick up the bass of a person’s voice, and so people’s voices always tend to sound higher over the phone! I have found that my wife’s voice sounds higher over the telephone than it does in person, which you must admit is a powerful piece of evidence.
And then there’s this: Boston’s practice facility is located in the town of [drum roll] Waltham, Massachusetts. Maybe Kyrie wasn’t actually at the practice facility when he called in as Mikey in Waltham, but Waltham would for sure be a town Kyrie knows of in Massachusetts. (CORRECTION: The Celtics practice facility was in Waltham during Kyrie’s first year with the team, but they’ve since opened a new one in Brighton. The point stands!) Kyrie even had a memorable non-practice experience in Waltham when he first arrived in Boston, when his car broke down on the way to practice in 2017. Waltham would make sense as the town to leap to mind when he needs to give his alter ego a home.
So what do we think? Is this the voice of Mikey in Waltham, who believes Boston fans are partially to blame for Kyrie leaving in free agency, because they didn’t “welcome him in more”? Or is it the voice of Kyrie Irving, scolding Celtics fans for being big old meanies and failing to appreciate true genius when it is in their midst?