If you want to get an idea of how the power dynamic between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks has drastically shifted, Sunday’s matchup gave us a window. The Nets now think they run the city.
Kevin Durant dropped a smooth 53 points on 19-for-37 shooting, drained 11 of his 12 free throws, and dished nine assists on the Knicks Sunday afternoon. Then, he pulled up to his postgame presser to pressure New York City Mayor Eric Adams to repeal the private sector vaccine mandate policy that’s kept Kyrie Irving in street clothes for much of the regular season.
Here’s what The Durantula had to say:
“It just feels like at this point now, somebody’s trying to make a statement on point to flex their authority. But you know, everybody out here is looking for attention and that’s what I feel like the Mayor wants right now, some attention. But he’ll figure it out soon, he better … people didn’t understand what was going on, but now it just looks stupid. So hopefully Eric, you guys can figure this out.”
Admittedly, the policy is nonsensical — in the case of the Nets — but it also affects more than just NBA fans. Kyrie proved his point by watching the Nets from a courtside seat and huddling with his teammates at halftime, but he’s gaslighting Nets fans by pretending like he’s helpless in this situation. Durant’s frustration is understandable. Kyrie’s 25.9 ppg, 5.4 apg, and 4.6 rpg on 48/41/90 shooting is irreplaceable. He demonstrated how valuable he is by feeding a 50-burger to the Charlotte Hornets earlier in the week. However, Kyrie’s availability for home games was never the mayor’s problem to figure out.
Every member of the Nets’ active roster took the vaccine months ago as part of a nationwide effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Kyrie chose to sit that fight out as well. Just like he sat out the bubble (rehabbing another injury) and talked a big game about his peers boycotting the bubble. It’s also reminiscent of how he disappeared from the Nets at the height of the pandemic so he could party maskless.
However, this campaign to influence public officials to make special exemptions or alter public policy is self-centered. Kyrie thinks the earth revolves (ahem) — thinks he’s the center of the flat earth. It’s a shame Durant is encouraging those delusions because that tough love for Adams needs to be directed towards Kyrie.
Last month, Adams pump-faked Nets fans by announcing plans to lift the city’s public sector mask and vaccine mandate policy. Adams could lift the private sector mandate at any point, but until then, Kyrie and Durant need to tamp down the victimization. If the Mayor believes the private sector mandate is no longer necessary, the policy will be repealed. The whims of NBA All-Stars shouldn’t dictate public policy. Until it’s removed, the only person Durant should blame for his predicament is Kyrie.