Flat-Earther Rift Opens Up Between Kyrie Irving and Rapper B.o.B.

"It was all an exploitation tactic."

Getty Images / Maddie Meyer

Perpetuating the absurd debate over whether or not the Earth is flat, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving now says his flat-Eartherism was a social experiment, while Georgia-based rapper B.o.B. is doubling down on his flat-Earth claims by starting a crowdfunding campaign to send one or more satellites into space “to find the curve.”

Unsurprisingly, these two dudes are both still wrong.

Let’s start with Irving. Back in February, he announced on a podcast that he believed the Earth is flat. Since then, educators have expressed concern over the influence that the famous basketball player has had on kids. In recent months, dismayed teachers have reported that their students are parroting Irving’s unfounded hypothesis.

Now he says he was trolling all along. This is the classic defense of someone whose prank has gone too far: It’s just a social experiment!

“Look, look. Here it is. All I want to do is be able to have that open conversation,” Irving said in an interview Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich. “It was all an exploitation tactic. It literally spun the world — your guys’ world — it spun it into a frenzy and proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works.”

Irving, once an avid supporter of the Flat Earth Movement, has backtracked on his claims.

Getty Images / Omar Rawlings

Irving says he just wants to have an open conversation. Here’s the thing, though: Science isn’t just about having an open mind but also about having evidence. There’s no reproducible evidence that shows the Earth is flat, and given that Irving still hasn’t explicitly said he believes the Earth is round, it seems he’s still using his platform as a professional athlete to spread misconceptions about the nature of scientific debate.

Irving’s public backpedaling puts him at odds with B.o.B., the rapper and flat-Earther who has been trading blows with Neil deGrasse Tyson for nearly two years. He’s back in the news with a GoFundMe page called “Show BoB The Curve.” The goal? $1,000,000 — which he’s raised from the initial $200,000 — to launch one or more satellites that will prove, somehow, that there is no curvature to the Earth. As of the time this article was written, he’d reached $1,936 of the goal, with $1,000 of that coming out of his own pocket.

His plan, which simply says he wants to “purchase and launch one, if not multiple, satellites into space,” doesn’t really make sense.

B.o.B. has not yet responded to Inverse’s request for details on how he’d use the money, but we will update this post if we receive one.

It’s great to be skeptical of the world around you. It’s skepticism and curiosity that drive scientific progress. But when public figures like Kyrie Irving and B.o.B. use the language of scientific inquiry and independent-minded research to preach against Earth science, they miss the whole point.

If you liked this article, check out this video about how the “Flat Earth” movement is making a comeback.

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