When Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving decided to leave the team due to personal reasons on January 5 it seemed routine. Players taking one or two days off during the season is not a big deal usually. In Kyrie’s case, one game turned into two games, which turned into two weeks. Kyrie’s absence led to a myriad of think pieces by people in the media, as they began to speculate the reason for his absence. Kyrie insists that he was never bothered by the opinions of those in the media because those who needed to know about his extended leave were kept informed the entire time.
Nobody Knows The Real Kyrie
“The thing that is pretty interesting in watching when you take a break from everything, there are just so many assumptions about what’s going on,” Kyrie told reporters on Wednesday. “And so many people feel like they know me best, and they have no idea who I am, know what I’m about or what I stand or even attempt to take the time or even for me to invite them to take the time, so it’s a two-way street.”
One of the reporters that have been particularly hard on Kyrie is ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who was not happy about his decision to not talk to the media at the beginning of the season, stating that he came off like a ‘damn snob.’ Stephen A. even at one point suggested Kyrie retire because in his opinion Kyrie’s extended absence showed his lack of commitment to playing basketball. “Kyrie Irving has not prioritized basketball,” Stephen A. said on a recent episode of First Take. “But I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play all together. I am saying he has not prioritized it, and how fair was that to Brooklyn Nets? How fair is that to Sean Marks? How fair is that to Steve Nash? A coach that he endorsed bringing on board, a coach that he wanted, a coach that he fully supported. How fair is that to his brother, Kevin Durant?”
Kyrie Just Wants To Play Ball
While many have speculated and continue to speculate just how long Kyrie will play in the NBA, the all-star point guard is not worried about that. He is living in the moment. Now, at this moment Kyrie insists that his commitment to the game of basketball has not changed. “I’ve committed myself,” Kyrie told the media. “When this wasn’t even a thing for me you know, I didn’t really care about media, I didn’t really care about the fandom, all I cared about was just the ethics of the game and being taught the fundamentals. And now that has become bigger and there is more of a responsibility that I have in this position I am in, I’m grateful because I’m able to stand on this platform with others alongside me that have sacrificed and are going through similar things.”
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Kyrie also wants his impact to be bigger than basketball and he has already made strides toward doing so. This past July, Kyrie launched the KAI Empowerment Initiative, a campaign designed to provide financial support for WNBA players. Through the KAI Empowerment Initiative Irving pledged to donate $1.5 million to WNBA players who did not want to participate in the league’s bubble. Kyrie also recently bought a house for George Floyd’s family. George Floyd’s story made national news this past May after his murder by police was caught on film and went viral. “It’s a team effort,” Kyrie said. “You know, just want to keep continuing to fulfill our purpose in serving a lot of the underserved communities that don’t necessarily get the same attention from just others around, so just try to do my part. Selfless service, that’s all.”