Kyrie Irving went pro.
Let me tell you a story, guys. This is a story about business, and about ideals, but it's mostly a story about loyalty.
Back when I was young, around 7, my dad was a CFO (that's Chief Financial Officer, in case you live under a fucking rock) for a manufacturing firm in upstate New York. I'm not going to tell you the company name, because it's none of your business, but believe me when I tell you we could have bought and sold you and your family, and whatever pets you owned, okay?
This was serious stuff. While your mom was worrying over some ungrown tomoatoes in the 5x5 strip of garden next to whatever highway you lived by, mine was trying to figure out whose palm to grease so we could cut down the pine trees in the backyard and put in a pool. It was that kind of life. I had kids coming over begging to use our ping-pong table downstairs, or the indoor gym, or the shuffleboard court. I'd tell them to take a hike 9 times out of 10. The place was full of townies.
Anyway, a group of liberal do-gooders in the local government started bleating about run-off from the main plant where my dad worked. Some of the industrial waste was coming out in culverts near a creek, and all the sudden this was a "bad" thing. Hilariously, my dad had made the choice to dispose of the stuff that way a few years before. It was one of like three options, and that was the cheapest. Since my dad knew business, he looked at the bottom line and went for the culverts instead of something more involved. The man knows his stuff, and some people still say he's responsible for some of the largest annual profits the company's ever made. He basically cut the waste disposal bill in half, and that was the company's largest expense.
Then a couple townies started claiming to be sick around the culverts. Whatever. It was basically a couple dozen isolated incidents, but of course the liberals started raising a stink. Mind you, they NEVER proved that the waste from the factory was toxic. Ever. But facts don't seem to matter when you can parade a couple sick kids around and start a class action lawsuit.
Long story short, the CEO sat my dad down and told him he had to take a hit for the team. The business had to continue, and they might lose some money with the class action, but more than anything they needed a scapegoat to prove the plan was unilateral, and not company-wide.
My dad could have tried to save his own skin. He could have pointed fingers, and acted remorseful, and cried and begged forgiveness. But he didn't. He stood up proud, as a businessman, and took the hit. He never even blinked an eye. You know why? Because he came up with that company, made his fortune with them, and he was loyal. He respected the institution.
The sons of bitches on the jury gave him 5 years in prison. They even had the gall to lecture him when they read the verdict. Believe me, I haven't forgotten their family names. But the company was saved. Today, that place mints money, and that wouldn't be true if my dad hadn't stepped up in their time of need. When he got out of prison after 3 years on good behavior (and what a prison! Believe me when I tell you it was nicer than most of your homes; white collar all the way), the parachute he got from the company was so golden it would make your fucking eyes bleed.
He couldn't work for them again, but he got paid. Loyalty begets loyalty. He knew something about being on a team. Last year, the company honored him in a small, private ceremony that the governor attended, and he still gets inside investment tips from the higher-ups before the rest of the market knows what's about to happen. He's seen as a hero, and that's how I see him too.
Kyrie Irving, you are nothing like my father. You know why? You don't know your place.
And before anyone goes and makes this whole thing racial, you can shut your fat liberal mouths. It's not about race. I'd say the same thing about any player, white or black. In fact, I have a lot of black friends. The color of a person's skin doesn't matter to me, as long as they come from the same type of background. Maybe that sounds tough, but I honestly can't relate to people who grew up poor. We're just not the same. Call me what you want, but I don't want anything to do with them until they improve themselves. This is America, guys, it's not that hard.
Back to Kyrie. He's an athlete. People can say what they want, but the truth is that athletes exist for our entertainment. That is their single and only purpose. Without my money, and the lesser money of other fans, the athletic structure wouldn't exist. Nobody would play sports professionally if they couldn't make a living, and if nobody played professional sports, the college sports scene wouldn't be nearly as strong.
That's part of the deal. We pay money, and for our trouble we get entertained by these people who can run a little faster and jump a little higher and shoot a little better than the rest of us. Pretty simple equation, right?
Apparently not. Because in a system like that, there's some expectations. You give your money, and you expect that an athlete will respect the system. Like, gee, maybe Kyrie will stay and win a championship at Duke instead of money-grubbing the first chance he gets. As someone who has a good amount of cash on hand, let me tell you that there's nothing more ugly to the higher class than someone desperately trying to get rich. It's sad and pathetic.
You owed us, Kyrie. I do not blush when I say that. YOU. OWED. US. You were going to make your NBA money, and then you could blow it however you wanted. That was all in the cards.
But you broke the deal, dude. And that's cool. Sure, maybe you'll get a little cash. But you'll also get this: me and all my friends heckling the shit out of you any time you play within a hundred mile radius in the NBA. We're going to make your life hell, man. You just fucked with the wrong hallowed university. We're Dukies, brah. We've got loud voices and we don't know shame. If you think we'll take this lying down, you got another thing coming.
And for everyone saying "BOO HOO, HE COULDA GOT INJURED IF HE STAYED!
Fuck that. That's the risk you take. We put him at Duke. We took him and gave him a free education. We paid his medical bills, for God's sake. And you're telling me he didn't owe us four years? Those were the terms of the deal.
But it's just like an athlete to break the deal, isn't it? They don't understand how things work, and they probably never will. I wish we'd just sent him home and let him heal his own toe.
I want to talk a little about Duke, too, because that's what this is really about.
It's the best school in the universe, and I'll pay someone to fight anyone who says otherwise. People want to piss and moan about the fact that it's selective, but guess what? That keeps the rabble out. It really does.
People get pissed because we party harder and longer, and study harder and longer, than anyone else in America. People get pissed because we bring it consistently, 24/7, and we never get tired. Everyone is hotter at Duke. Everyone is richer. Everyone is, to put it plainly, better. Don't get mad at the truth, dudes. Truth ain't gonna change.
I still remember everything about my four years there. I'm set up nicely now, but I still say those were the best years of my life. The memories are always with me. Now that it's spring, I remember sitting on the quad bench with my frat brothers. We'd just watch the people go by and maybe shout a comment or two. Sometimes we'd get bored. Then we had this game where when we saw a nerd go by, we'd call him over to the bench. "Check out the size of this spider, man!" we'd say. The nerd would come over, and bend down to look, but he wouldn't see a spider. "Weird," we'd say. "He must have laid an egg." Then one of us would come racing over and smash an egg on the back of the kid's head.
God, it still makes me laugh. The way the yolk would run down their heads, it seriously doesn't get better than that. We even got one kid to drop out of school because it screwed him up so much (foreigner, go figure). Hilarious. We called the game 'Spidey-Sense.'
And the parties. Oh man, the parties. Alcohol and throwing objects and hooking up with girls. Especially the latter. Believe me, when you have money you can get girls that wouldn't look at you twice if you were poor. The right clothes and attitude are all it takes to have the gold-digger crew hanging all over you. And at Duke, bro, they were all gold diggers. But most of them had the good grace to leave in the morning, and if they didn't, a little public humiliation was usually enough to send them on their way.
We weren't above having a "booty bulletin board" hanging in the hallway with headshots of every needy chick who spent the night. The school tried to get us to take it down, but one call from my dad to the dean ended that nonsense. Eventually it became a point of pride. Girls would do anything to get on that bulletin board. We practically had to have interviews. Finally we took a vote and decided on a second bulletin board. The day we announced it, you wouldn't believe the girls who "just stopped by on their way to class" looking for a chance to make the big leagues.
And then there were the classes. I still get a chill every time I think about walking past that dark Duke stone, those gorgeous neo-gothic buildings where the smartest people in the universe go to teach and learn. The conversations we had inside those walls would blow your mind. If you could understand them, that is, which you probably couldn't. No offense, but it was some high-level stuff. We'd talk philosophy, and human psychology, and the meaning of life. And that was just in a beginner's tennis class.
I hope you're starting to get the point; Duke is unlike any other place on Earth. Because it has the most money and the best facilities, it gets the best faculty, and because of that it gets the best students. I would honestly support a fellow Dukie over my best friend if it came down to a life or death situation. That's just the way it is for us. That scenario wouldn't actually happen to me since my best friends are all Dukies, but you see what I mean. We support each other in business, and love, and everything else. I personally get pissed when one of my friends marries outside the Duke family. I understand having one as a mistress or something, but come on bro, keep it real in the public eye, you know?
This is the gift we gave Kyrie. The gift of Duke. The place my dad went, where I went, and where all my kids are going to go, no matter how smart or dumb they are. Kyrie wouldn't have been here without basketball. He rolled the dice in life and got extremely lucky. And did he ever say thank you, or put his head down and work on making us proud of him? Did he ever even try for our approval? No. He hurt his toe, cost us a championship, and left.
This is what happens when you extend a hand to someone below you. You just get bit.
My dad was a hero. Kyrie is nothing but an ungrateful punk. In the end, he was never meant for Duke. I just wish we'd known it sooner.