Last month, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted the link to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which features anti-Semitic tropes. His decision to share the link received heavy criticism from Jewish people and their allies. Because he didn’t apologize initially, Irving got suspended by the Nets for a minimum of five games, but the suspension lasted for eight.
Though Irving’s suspension lasted more than two weeks, he stayed in shape during his hiatus. According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, the Nets star worked out with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate JR Smith during his suspension.
“Nets PG Kyrie Irving was working out today with former Cavs teammate JR Smith,” the insider tweeted on November 18. “During their workout in New Jersey, they paid attention to the on-court shooting.”
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Kyrie Speaks Out After Return From Suspension
Irving returned to the Nets’ starting lineup on November 20 when Brooklyn took on the Memphis Grizzlies. In his return, Irving had a lackluster performance, at least by his standards. Kyrie, who averages 25.4 points per game on the season, scored just 14 points on 5-12 shooting from the field and 2-5 from beyond the arc.
Though Irving remained in shape during his suspension by participating in private workouts, the star guard says that recreating the feeling of playing in an NBA game is impossible. As a result, he did have some rust upon his return.
“I mean, you saw me dribbling the ball out there. The ball was just miraculously just going on my hands, so there’s just some rust, and you know, just get back into NBA basketball,” Irving said after the win via NetsDaily.
“There’s no way I can create NBA basketball when I’m just sitting at home with my friends, as much as I want to compete with them, as much as I love it’s just nothing like being out there.”
Ben Simmons Sounds off on Recent Stretch
Although Irving was rusty in Brooklyn’s matchup with the Grizzlies, there were a lot of bright spots for the Nets on the night. One of those is the continued emergence of Ben Simmons, who has put together a string of impressive performances.
Simmons had his best game of the season against the Grizzlies as he notched 22 points on 11-13 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. It is a sight for Nets fans to see after the All-NBA forward struggled in his first several games.
Whether Simmons can continue his stretch of impressive performances remains to be seen. But the Nets star says he is taking things one day at a time.
“I take it day by day,” Simmons said after the win via NetsDaily. “I try not to look too far ahead. I do what I can, focus on myself, and try to get better each day. So, I take it day by day. I don’t look too far ahead and worry about the things that I can control. I control what I can.”
Simmons will have possibly his biggest test of the regular season when he returns to Philadelphia for the first time in a Nets jersey.