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Kyrie Irving Buried ESPN For His Top 100 List Ranking And He Spoke Nothing But Facts

Tim Nwachukwu. Getty Images.

When we get this close to the start of the next NBA season, you start to see every media outlet's Top 100 list. It's a daunting exercise that will never be met with universal approval, and as you get older you realize these things are just another version of content engagement farming. When I was younger, it used to really grind my gears when I would see where ESPN would have my favorite Celts ranked. I would routinely find myself getting triggered by it every year.

But now as an old, all I can do is laugh when I see the list. Having now worked in the content game for 8 years, I can appreciate the trolling. ESPN's Top 100 list isn't actually meant to show/talk about an accurate list, it's to garner engagement. Who cares if everyone is shitting all over it, you're talking about it and giving them your click.

Every once in a while we see NBA players take the bait when these things come out, like when DeMar DeRozan had an issue with SI ranking him 46th back in 2016

and then again when he ranked 36th in 2017

In 2023, ESPN's list is full of situations like this. For example, they didn't even rank Derrick White anywhere in their Top 100 despite the fact that he made an All NBA Defensive team and led the NBA in blocks for all guards while largely being considered one of the best role players in the entire league. For some reason, some at ESPN would rather have guards like Jordan Poole on the list. Again, I respect the troll. They knew that would rile up Celts fans and spike their engagement. 

There was also the case of where they had Kyrie Irving ranked. Listen, think what you want about him as a franchise building block or how he seems to do more harm than good for the teams he plays on, but ranking him 34 is insane. When Kyrie is actually on the floor, you'd be hard-pressed to find 33 better players than him. 

And while I may not always agree with Kyrie, his response to it was pretty spot on

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Now you could make the case that responding like this shows Kyrie actually does care, but he's also not wrong. It's essentially a real world display of this tweet

My guess is if he was in the top 10 or something he wouldn't have this same stance, but I do agree with his overall point. Where ESPN puts you in this thing literally doesn't mean a thing. Anyone with eyes and a brain knows he's better than the 34th player heading into this NBA season. But by listing him there and now getting this type of public reaction out of Kyrie, ESPN did its job.

In my opinion, the response would have been perfect had it just not included the "I never will" part. We can all see he cares and that's probably what most will focus on, but again he's not wrong. My advice as someone who found a way to move past getting triggered by these lists is to mostly ignore it and understand what their purpose is. It's not meant for actual basketball discussion, nor is it based in any sort of fact. They are opinions meant to make you mad online.

With White for example, I couldn't be happier he was snubbed completely. That's just some extra motivation for a guy who was already poised for a breakout season. In a way, I'm thankful for ESPN's trolling. A younger Greenie would have already written a 2,000 word blog on what a bunch of blind morons ESPN is, but I've learned to just have fun with it instead. Kyrie is better off taking that approach because guess what? They're going to do the exact same thing next year and the year after that and the year after that for the rest of eternity.