Earlier this year, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Kyrie Irving revealed that he believes the earth is flat. While such a claim can easily be disproved by centuries’ worth of science, it generated enough coverage for the likes of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil deGrasse Tyson to weigh in on the subject. And yet, some young, impressionable fans believe Irving over their science teachers, NPR reports.
In a recent article on NPR looking at the “ongoing battle between science teachers and fake news,” a middle school teacher said he hasn’t been able to reason with his students and prove the earth is actually round because of Irving. Nick Gurol explained that they believe he is a part of a larger conspiracy of being a “round-Earther” and that it’s hard for him because science “isn’t real to them.”
“Immediately I start to panic,” Gurol told NPR. “How have I failed these kids so badly they think the Earth is flat just because a basketball player says it?”
Irving is one of the most popular athletes in the NBA. He received nearly 1.7 million fan votes for the 2017 All-Star Game, which put him behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and James Harden. His signature shoe with Nike is also one of the best selling shoes in the league.
“We live in a free country, so you ought to be able to think and say whatever you want,” Neil Degrasse Tyson said in an interview with TMZ. “If he wants to think earth is flat, go right ahead – as long as he continues to play basketball and not become head of any space agencies. My point is if you have certain limitations of understanding of the natural world, stay away from jobs that require that.”