While Kyrie Irving’s declaration that the Earth is flat may be harmless and considered a joke by many, the belief of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard is causing problems for some middle school science teachers. In a report by NPR, Susan Yoon, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, said some students actually believe Irving’s claim that the Earth is flat.

One teacher, Nick Gurol, said his students got the idea that the Earth is flat from Irving, who made that claim during an interview on a podcast by Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye in February.

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Gurol said he tried explaining to his students the truth but nothing worked and they still believe Irving’s claim. "They think that I'm part of this larger conspiracy of being a round-Earther,” said Yoon. To counter the belief instilled by Irving’s comment, Yoon urged teachers to teach students to gather evidence, check sources, deduce, hypothesize, and synthesize results that will help them discover the truth.

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Irving’s teammates joined in on the fun

Irving became a trending topic on Twitter after he made the declaration on the podcast and was mocked throughout All-Star weekend. Irving’s teammates defended him, with Jefferson wearing "flat world champions" t-shirt during one of the episodes of his podcast with Frye. LeBron James backed Irving’s claim, saying: “if he decides the Earth is flat, that’s okay”.

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Irving also got an unlikely ally in Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green, who said “how do we stand on the Earth if it’s round?” Green added that pictures only show that the Earth is round and anyone with a panoramic camera can make anything looks like a round object. Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about Irving’s claim. In reply, Silver said he and Kyrie both went to Duke and “he may have taken some different courses than I did."

Irving defended flat-Earth comments

After a month, Irving stood by his comment, telling the Road Trippin’ podcast that “it’s OK to think something that, I guess, the majority wouldn’t think." Irving said he felt misconstrued over his pronouncement but he felt fine with the fact that he was able to formulate his own thoughts and opinions and convey them to other people.

Renowned scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson also defended Irving’s pronouncement, saying he can say whatever he wants as “long as he continues to play basketball and not become head of any space agencies." Earlier, retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal also declared that the Earth is flat.

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