Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who played in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19, made headlines last week when he said that he believes the Earth is flat.
“This is not even a conspiracy theory,” Irving, 24, said during an interview on the NBA’s Road Trippin’ With RJ & Channing podcast on Thursday, February 16. “The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. … It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
A day later, the athlete repeated the comments during an interview with ESPN. “I think people should do their own research, man,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll either back my belief or they’ll throw it in the water. But I think it’s interesting for people to find out on their own. … I’ve seen a lot of things that my education system has said that was real that turned out to be completely fake. I don’t mind going against the grain in terms of my thoughts.”
Since the pseudoscience theory was debunked centuries ago, after being prevalent in Europe during the Middle Ages, Irving’s comments quickly made headlines, prompting him to further explain his thought process and admit that “it would be scientifically impossible,” according to USA Today.
“The fact that [my comments] actually could be real news, that people are actually asking me that — ‘It’s a social phenomenon. What do you think about it? Are you going to try to protect your image?’ I mean, it really doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter,” he said on Saturday, February 18, according to ESPN. “The fact that it’s a conversation? I’m glad that it got people talking like this: ‘Kyrie actually thinks the world is flat.'”
The 6-foot-3 basketball pro debated the importance of the “news” when reporters continued to inquire about his remarks. “We could ask relevant questions like, What’s going on with the world, like what’s really going on? … Or what I really believe or who I really am. That’d be nice,” he said in a story reported by USA Today. “But the fact that that’s what everyone got out of the podcast, that’s hilarious to me.”
When LeBron James was asked about his thoughts on Irving’s flat-Earth comments, he voiced his support for his Cavaliers and All-Star teammate. “Kyrie is my little brother,” he told ESPN. “He’s my All-Star point guard, superstar point guard, and if he decides he wants to say the Earth is flat, so be it. He’s an interesting guy, and he believes it.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also weighed in on Saturday, saying Irving’s remarks were a “larger commentary on the so-called fake news debate in our society right now.” He added, “Personally, I believe the Earth is round.”