"Where in the World Is Kyrie Irving" has become the storyline that has dominated the early days of 2021 in the NBA. Irving has not played a basketball game since January 5. Each game since has listed Irving as out for personal reasons. Nobody knows what those personal reasons are. Nobody knows when he'll be back. Steve Nash did not give a resounding vote of confidence when asked if he thought Irving would be back this season.
My colleague Stephen Douglas posited that there is a chance we have seen the last of Irving on the basketball court. It wouldn't be that surprising to anybody if this was how the fickle superstar decided this is how his playing days ended -- by simply leaving and not coming back.
Stephen A. Smith went on ESPN today and when asked if he believed the star point guard was worth all this, he said he wasn't. Smith then said Irving should announce his retirement because he can no longer put basketball as his first priority, and given that is what he is paid millions of dollars to do, Irving has no other choice but to declare his playing days done.
Anything can happen at this point, so as previously stated, it wouldn't come as a big shock to see Irving follow the path Smith suggests. Still. We've never seen anything like this, really. Maybe when Dennis Rodman went AWOL to go to Vegas as documented in The Last Dance, but even then he told everyone what he was up to. As far as we're aware, Irving isn't playing, and nobody has a clue why.
Strange times often lead to strange conclusions. This saga's end will be quite the viewing experience.