“It’s really frustrating,” Doncic began, “I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there, you know? I used to have really fun smiling on the court, but it’s just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”
When asked what is going on, Doncic said it was private.
And as the Dallas Mavericks are struggling this year, just 36-38 at the moment following a year where they made it to the Western Conference Finals, of course, the internet began to read too much into his statement. First, Barstool Sports made a joke about Kyrie Irving being the cause then Twitter was off to the races with speculation. Dallas hasn’t been successful since the trade for Irving but there’s been no indication of any friction between the two stars, quite the opposite, in fact.
The Mavs’ results since the Kyrie Irving trade have obviously been disappointing, but I’ve only heard praise about his professionalism and locker room presence during his brief time in Dallas. Blaming Luka Doncic’s frustration on Irving isn’t fair or accurate.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 25, 2023
After big losses teams have to deal with things like this, so I rolled my eyes and went back to talking about the team and the season we’ve experienced. Then this afternoon I was notified that the story had crossed streams, with notorious gossip peddler TMZ publishing a story that effectively took the Barstool joke and generated a rumor out of whole cloth.
Since most people on social media read headlines these days, the dumb joke is going to become an actual story quickly unless it gets nipped in the bud. Yes, it’s true Kyrie Irving was also frustrated postgame. Losses will do that to any competitor and when he was asked about the boos, Irving had a quippy comeback. He’s playing on a hurt foot and probably took offense to those boos. That’s normal, I’d be concerned if he didn’t.
This “story” is entirely contrived. Barstool, TMZ, and any other outlet that chooses to run with it is doing so for the sake of engagement, not for any real act of journalism. Luka Doncic has had a difficult year off-court, suing his mothing for copyright reasons. There’s very likely other things going on we don’t know about because private lives do exist, even for superstar athletes.
There might yet come a time in the Doncic-Irving relationship where things aren’t sunny; in fact, given how competitive endeavors work, I expect it. But it’s not today. Though the Dallas Mavericks aren’t in a great place at the moment (currently sitting 11th in the tight Western Conference play-in race), there’s nothing to worry about as far as the relationship between Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.