The rich and famous are no strangers to conspiracy theories. But even still, NBA star Kyrie Irving’s recent comments regarding the curvature of the Earth, or lack thereof, qualify as odd.
Speaking on a podcast with his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, Irving was discussing conspiracy theories and the possibility of life beyond Earth when he asked Jefferson and Frye whether they believed the Earth is round. Both men said they did.
“This is not even a conspiracy theory,” Irving said. “The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat.”
Irving, who signed a $90 million contract with the Cavaliers in 2014, went on to justify his belief by saying that “they lie to us,” though he did not specify who “they” are.
“It’s right in front of our faces,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
The relevant portion of the discussion begins at around the 13 minute-mark in the clip above.
Irving went on to say that while he has been taught that the Earth is round, a scientific fact that has formed the basis of space travel and numerous other technological advancements, he believes “there is no concrete information, except for the information that they’re giving us.”
Furthermore, Irving and his teammates were on an airplane while recording the podcast —which is featured on the Cavaliers’ official website — a fact he alluded to in attempting to explain his position.
“For what I’ve known for many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that — can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this,” Irving said.
Irving, who’s signature sneakers are also one of the top-selling lines in the NBA, per Quartz, also seemed to say that he believed the moon landing was faked, referring to a popular internet conspiracy theory about astronaut Neil Armstrong’s footprint, and that humans had possibly seen or interacted with aliens.
“The fact that they can make all these movies with alien descriptions, they’re not just going on strictly brainpower and this is just creative things that we’re going to put out to everybody. For what? All to put an alien movie out, for what?” he said.
Irving’s statements were roundly mocked on social media, but at least one other NBA player expressed support. Denver Nuggets Wilson Chandler said that he agreed with Irving.
This is not the first time an NBA player has expressed support for an outlandish conspiracy theory this season. Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut made headlines in late November when he tweeted a message that seemed to imply that he believed in “Pizzagate,” an online conspiracy theory that holds that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta helped to run a child trafficking ring out of the a Washington D.C. pizzeria. “Pizzagate” has been repeatedly debunked.
Irving is also not the first celebrity to voice support for the “Flat Earth” movement, a surprisingly robust community that has more than 500 public members. In January 2016, rapper B.o.B. sent a flurry of tweets containing many similar arguments to Irving.