Kyrie Irving opens up about 'mistakes' on debut episode of Kevin Durant podcast


Kevin Durant is kicking off his new podcast with an assist from a superstar teammate.

Durant's on-court chemistry with point guard Kyrie Irving remains to be seen, but the Brooklyn Nets stars and well-documented pals hit it off swimmingly in the debut episode of Cadence13's The ETCs Podcast with Kevin Durant and co-host Eddie Gonzalez.

Irving, the show's debut guest, opened up about some of the polarizing episodes from his highly scrutinized career, and conceded he has come to regret certain choices as he ages and matures.

"I've been out and visible at a certain time as a young man," Irving explained. "I've been in front of the cameras. You could go back and watch a lot of the past history of videos, whether it be some of the brand partnerships I've had or even some of the mistakes I've made in my life publicly, or the media following every single word and hanging on every single word. It becomes the narrative or the picture of me."

Irving in recent years came under criticism for musing about conspiracy theories, most famously when he suggested that he believed the Earth was flat. The 28-year-old Duke product later backpedaled, explaining that he was joking.

His exposure arguably peaked in 2018 with the release of "Uncle Drew," a feature-length comedy spun off from the popular series of Pepsi commercials in which Irving played the role of an elderly playground baller with an uncanny game.

The movie fared OK at the box office, and reviews were mixed, but some of Irving's critics in the sports world questioned whether he was sufficiently focused on basketball.

Meanwhile Irving has continued to play at a high level on the court in recent years, though it hasn't yielded the kind of success he envisioned when he split from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that drafted him in 2011.

An ill-fated stint with the Boston Celtics led Irving to the Nets -- and his longtime friend Durant, who missed all of the 2019-20 season while recovering from a torn ACL. Both players sat out the NBA restart at Disney World, so next season will mark the first time the buddies will suit up together as Nets.

Irving said he's in a new, better place as a person -- which should carry over for him as a player.

“Honestly, I tell you, I grew up in this business very differently than everyone else," Irving said. "Where my foundation is, I'm home most of the time. I'm either reading books, watching documentaries, chilling at home, conversing with some family. My life has shifted.

"When I express myself creatively, artistically -- that's basketball. I'm in a meditative state when I'm out there playing. I feel like there isn't much that could get to me when I'm in that mode, whether I'm playing well or I'm playing bad, it's such a sacred place for me."

Irving, who has been vocal in recent years on matters of social and racial justice, said his new approach helps him cope with competing responsibilities he faces as a player, business person and activist.

"When I come out into the world as Ky or as just a human being, I don't want to be that person that puts on that cape on the court," Irving said. "I'm me in terms of how I live my life and whether I choose to invite people into it, that's up to me."

Elsewhere, Irving opens up about rehearsing for his first nerve-wracking interaction with fallen basketball legend Kobe Bryant, and Irving and Durant discuss how the mutual respect for their basketball games blossomed into a true friendship.

"Obviously the common ground is how we hoop and how we love the game of basketball," Durant said, "but it just branched off from there."