Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving was ridiculed back in June after he organized a conference call with pro-basketball players from both the WNBA and the NBA who wanted to discuss whethere they should play in the NBA and WNBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullsh**,” Irving reportedly said while on the call.
“Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Irving didn’t join the Nets in Orlando and they were swept by the Toronto Raptors in round one of the NBA Playoffs.
A six-time NBA All-Star, Irving was the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Guided by head coach, Ty Lue and playing alongside LeBron James, Kevin Love and JR Smith, Irving helped guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA Championship in 2016.
Irving’s been labeled as a disruptor by some and confused by others.
“He’s showing his lack of leadership,” retired NBA player and current ESPN analyst, Kendrick Perkins said earlier this summer.
“Kyrie, you have been on these conference calls over the last two months. You’re the vice president of the Players Association. You have been very involved in all this that’s taking place as far as whether we’re going to play or not. You’ve been on the phone and you voted to play!”
Then the Jacob Blake shooting happened. An unarmed Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Blake was shot multiple times in the back by police as he entered his SUV in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
As a result, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in Game 5 of their NBA Playoffs game against the Orlando Magic last week.
Players pushed social reform and they ended up getting what they wanted. And then many began to acknowledge that Kyrie Irving might have been correct all along.
Some have even assessed that Irving might be the NBA’s Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII and was in a contract year when he took his stance on the American Flag. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL network’s Steve Wyche.
Is the Kaepernick, Irving comparison a fair one? “As far as the backlash that they got, definitely,” Philadelphia Eagles safety, Jalen Mills told me on the Heavy With Scoop B Show.
“Because you have reporters, you have had players – whether if they were active players or retired players both you know, bash both of them for standing on something that they believed in and at the end of the day, you see that you know what they say, “What is done in the dark, will come into the light and in time it will always reveal itself down the line…” and so, they seen the bigger picture and they saw the bigger picture and it came to light for sure.”
A member of the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII team, Mills will switch over to the safety position this year after the departure of Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles begin their season on Sunday September 13 against the Washington Football Team. According to SportsBettingDime, the Eagles range from (-265) to (-278) moneyline favorites.
While on Heavy Live With Scoop B, I asked Mills if he thought that Kaepernick would make an NFL return, he was optimistic. “I mean, why not,” he said. “This is a game that any athlete wanted to play since you were young kid. Why not give him another shot to see what he got? For sure!”