In November 2018, a video of NBA star Kyrie Irving imitating the popular Michael Jackson was shared on Twitter. The popular Kyrie Irving balance video was shot on a cellphone camera while the basketball star was on the court. Michael Jackson's move was called the 'anti-gravity lean', and Irving reportedly used this move to improve his balance.
This is the wildest thing I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/RVx1qNOky3— ³𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙧𝙚 🐺 (@33643pts) November 23, 2018
In the video, Irving leans forward while his feet are planted on the ground. Irving looks like he might topple over, but the then-Boston Celtics star straightens up and stretches his neck before leaning to the side. Irving's move grew popular among fans, as everyone tried to figure out how Irving managed the difficult move. Jackson's move was first shown in his 2009 Smooth Criminal video, which has over 300 million views on YouTube.
The video was constantly discussed on social media, as some people questioned the authenticity of the video. Many fans believed the video was fake and edited, similar to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant's 2008 Nike video. In the video, Bryant jumps over a speeding Aston Martin. Bryant himself admitted to the video being edited.
Similarly, Tom Westerholm of MassLive asked Irving about the video and its authenticity before a game. Irving smiled at the question, answering that the video was actually magic. He said that it was all he could say. Irving further added that he appreciated Nike giving him the technology and shoes that enabled him to capture the movement on camera. When Westerholm directly asked Irving about the video being fake, Irving continued to smile and said that is all he could say about the video. Many fans believed Irving was joking and were sure that the now-Brooklyn Nets guard can easily pull off the move. However, many people were sceptical, as Irving had no reason to mention Nike in the video.
ESPN's Rachel Nichols was among the many who dissected the video, unable to understand how Irving did it. His then-Celtics teammates were also asked about the video. Marcus Morris at first stated that the video was not real but later added that he does not know what to think about it. He even said that he does not intend to steal Irving's thunder and does not know how it was done. He then added that while it might be real, he has never seen Irving do that kind of practice.