Shut Up And Play

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When older people talk about “young people today” and how they’re so “selfish” and “entitled” they could simply be talking about Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.

The NBA as a spectacle is probably the worst it has ever been. Defence is weak, the officiating is heavily biased in favour of offence (travel, carry, double dribble… three rules of basketball the NBA doesn’t believe in), ball movement is atrocious, there’s no inside game, there’s too many three pointers and all the superstars want to play on super teams together. There’s more, but that’s a good start as to why the NBA now sucks as a spectator sport.

As if it wasn’t intolerable enough on the court, it’s become grotesque off it. GM’s and front offices don’t run franchises; players do. They pick where they want to play, who they want to play with and they seem to be able to demand the specific conditions under which they actually show up to fulfil the terms of their disgustingly exorbitant contracts.

But if they don’t get their way, they act like the spoilt little brats that they are.

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Take Kyrie Irving. Presently refusing to play because he doesn’t want to get vaccinated. Some might applaud his stance, but bear in mind clown thinks the earth is flat. As a reminder, the last time an intelligent person thought the world was flat was hundreds of years ago.

His qualifications in vaccine science are as invisible as his degree in geography, yet he refuses to play (at disadvantage to his teammates, coaching staff, fans and sponsors) because it’s all about him.

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Let’s meet today’s contestants for the NBA’s Most Hated Player award.

Then there’s Ben Simmons, currently flat out refusing to play for the Philadelphia 76ers because he wanted to be traded in the off season but it didn’t happen. So he’s thrown the toys out of the cot, refused to play, moped through a training session or two and is now claiming he can’t show up because of mental illness and back soreness.

Both those excuses may actually be true, who knows? It’s no surprise to think the farcical circumstances surrounding himself and the team would be causing him stress of some kind. But it’s hard to sympathise because he brought most of it on himself. His petulance has worsened the situation considerably.

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Now he’s doing himself even greater disservice by refusing to train and play. But yet, in his self-absorbed mind, he expects another team to trade for him even though he won’t set foot on a basketball court? Wake up, Ben. Every other team is going to consider you to be potentially toxic in the locker room. They want players, not distractions.

In Irving’s case, the selfishness is just as bad. Vaccine hesitancy is understandable, but if you get all your information from social media and your friends then you’re going to be misinformed to some extent. Got concerns? Go speak to a few actual doctors. Get a second, third, fourth and fifth opinion if you want.

But no, with Kyrie and Ben it’s all about me. It’s about getting their way, and fuck the team, the franchise, the sponsors and the fans. Fuck all the people who played a part in the millions of dollars in your undeserving pockets.

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This spineless inability to handle conflict and adversary is so typical of modern society. Selfish and petulant, the tantrums fly thick and fast as soon as they can’t have everything their own way. The impact on others never seems to cross their minds.

While many athletes use their success as a platform for positive and beneficial causes, the Kyrie Irving’s and Ben Simmons’ of the world can’t stop thinking about themselves.

You’re basketballers, that’s all. Get over yourselves. Swallow your pride, be grateful for what you get to do for a living and learn some respect.

Shut up and play.

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