The NBA announced its list of the 75 greatest players in league history when the 2021-22 season began, yet even with the season over for most of the league, some of the snubs are still bitter that they missed out. Naturally, Kyrie Irving numbers among those snubbed. In April, the Brooklyn Nets star implied that he believes that he was originally on the list, but was removed due to his many controversial statements and actions. “I think I’ll leave it to the conspiracy theorists. I think I was on the list… but I guess I’m not,” Irving said.
Irving further argued that Wednesday on an appearance on The ETCs with Kevin Durant podcast that he belonged on the list as someone who represents “the mastery of basketball.”
“I really admire a lot of the talent that has come through our league that has really set cornerstones and foundational shots, pathways for people to follow right or to achieve better, to want to achieve better,” Irving said. “So I can’t sit here and debate. You know whether or not I was or I wasn’t. I can only tell you how I feel, and absolutely I feel like I deserve to be on that top 75 list.”
Irving argued that he played a part in revolutionizing basketball, and that should be acknowledged. “Simply because I’m part of the revolution of this game, and that’s what drives me – as well as to continue to spark the next brain that’s going to be part of this 0.03% of billions of people,” Irving explained. “So, it’s not going to be for everybody.”
Irving is often considered among the most skilled players in NBA history, at least with the ball in his hands, but his overall resume is lacking compared to other top-75 selections due largely to volume. Irving has played just 611 regular-season games due to a combination of age and injuries. He has only made three All-NBA Teams for the same reasons. He has been the best player on a team for only one brief stretch in Boston, and that time ended badly.
When the NBA attempts to build a top-100 list in 25 years, it will have Irving’s entire body of work to consider. For now, his resume is simply incomplete. That, more than anything else, is why he missed out on the top 75 this time around.