There appears to be no love lost between Stephen A. Smith and Kyrie Irving.
During an appearance on “The Mike Missanelli Podcast” Tuesday, the ESPN personality revealed that he has “personal” differences with Irving and his father, Drederick — but cautioned that their issues do not interfere with his analysis of the Mavericks guard.
“Now Kyrie and I have our differences on a personal level, which is none of anybody’s business and I’ll never tell why,” Smith said. “He knows why. And his daddy knows why.”
Smith revealed his beef with the Irvings while discussing a heated moment he had with Jay Williams on “First Take” in February, when the two went at it while debating Irving’s trade to the Mavericks.
“They know how I feel about how they’ve acted towards me and they know how I feel about them and I know how they feel about me,” Smith said about his issues with Irving and Drederick.
“But I can say that to anybody out there because I know that that does not interfere with my reporting on him and my perspective based off of the facts.”
Smith declined to discuss the matter further.
Smith’s comments came a day prior to Irving’s Twitch rant about fans and media believing they know the real him after seeing him play basketball.
“You see me for three hours and you think you know who I am,” Irving said in part, while appearing to burn sage. “You see a few posts: ‘Oh Ky is woke, Ky got it, oh, Ky is, oh my goodness. He just doesn’t fit into the mold of all the people. He’s different, he’s crazy, he’s arrogant, he’s this, he’s that.’
“All from seeing me for three hours. You get all that.”
The “First Take” host has been critical of Irving on the ESPN show for a number of reasons throughout the All-Star’s dramatic tenure with the Nets, including his vaccine situation.
Last month, Smith and Williams got into a fiery exchange while discussing Irving’s reputation after the Nets traded him to the Mavericks.
At one point during the debate, Williams accused Smith of getting “personal” with his argument about Irving.
“I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving,” Smith fired back at the time. “… I’m passionate about the subjects that I’m passionate about. I don’t accuse you of getting personal when you talk the position you take.”
Last January, Williams and Smith sparred on the topic of Irving and the COVID-19 vaccine, and Smith accused Williams of being an Irving apologist.
Smith has been vocal about his issues with Irving on the court — including when he came down on the NBA champion for “not showing up to work” in the 2021-22 season when he played just 29 games due to various absences.
The Mavericks acquired Irving in a deal with Nets in February — two days after the All-Star point guard requested a trade out of Brooklyn due to unsuccessful contract negotiations.