NBA Radio Host Rips Irving, Westbrook

Justin Termine took Kyrie Irving to task and explained why he no longer defends Russell Westbrook

April 23, 2019 - 7:57 am

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The Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in their opening-round playoff series, appearing to right the ship after a drama-filled season.

NBA Radio host Justin Termine’s take? Not quite.

“Who’s the leader of this team? Or at least the guy who claims to be the leader?” Termine asked on Ferrall on the Bench. “He’s Kyrie Irving. Who does he learn from? LeBron James. LeBron James was noted for sort of taking regular seasons cavalierly, and the difference is LeBron is good enough where he can sort of just coast through a regular season and still win a significant amount of games and the team still looks good, even though they’re not putting in full effort. 

“Kyrie Irving is not good enough to do that,” Termine continued. “I also look at these guys and I ask how could they respect Kyrie Irving, who last year was injured and then for Game 7 against Cleveland – the most important game of most of those guys’ lives – he elected not to sit on the bench and show any support for them. I thought that was grotesque. That’s not what a leader does. I think they’re rudderless. I think they have talent; I just don’t think they have a leader there that they know how to follow. That’s the issue. Kyrie is a fantastic player, but he’s clueless from a leadership perspective.”

The Celtics will play the Bucks in the second round. Termine believes the winner of that series will reach the NBA Finals.

In the West, meanwhile, the Thunder, who trail Portland 3-1, could be eliminated in the first round for the third straight season. Russell Westbrook was his usual cantankerous self following OKC’s Game 4 loss – and Termine has had enough.

“Westbrook is never answering questions from anybody,” he said. “He’s always got a scowl on his face. He’s never given you anything. I used to defend the guy. Three or four years ago, I thought he was very open and I would start off an interview by joking around with him about something to loosen him up, so I would always defend him. But now I’ve run out of patience with him.”

For Termine, this has nothing to do with Westbrook attacking the media and everything to do with insulting the players who came before him.

“It’s an insult to the players of the past,” he said. “The Magic’s, the Bird’s, the Jordan’s – anybody who paved the way so these could could be making $200+ million, which he is doing – and did things they didn’t want to in order to sell the game, and he’s going to sit up there and go in the complete opposite direction? Who cares if he’s insulting me as a media member or the fans? How about the fact that he’s insulting legends who came before him? I found that to be horrific behavior, and hopefully it changes or somebody does something about it within the league.”

Click below to listen to Termine’s interview in its entirety.