Earlier this season, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving debuted what seemed to be his latest accessory, a walking stick. Although the walking stick appeared to just be Kyrie’s latest fashion statement, it has a much deeper meaning than that.
Kyrie Pays Homage to His Roots
The walking stick that Irving has been carrying is a tribute to his Native American heritage and is in fact called a prayer stick. It’s also known as a spirit stick or medicine stick & is used to make offerings and petitions to the spirit world per Scoop B.
Prayer Sticks are associated with rituals relating to religious ceremonies particularly of the Southwest Native American tribes of the Hopi, Pueblo, and Zuni.
This season Irving has been a lot more expressive about his cultural roots than in the past. If you remember, Irving saged the arena inside of TD Garden prior to a pre-game matchup with the Boston Celtics. What seemed to be a shot at his former team was actually just a cultural ritual.
“Being able to sage, just cleanse the energy, make sure that we’re all balanced,” Irving told the reporters via ESPN. Burning sage is a Native American cultural practice that serves to cleanse a person or rid an environment of negative energy to promote healing and wisdom.
“But, literally, it’s more or less for us to stay connected and for us to feel great about going to work and feeling safe and provided for from our ancestors. It’s part of my native culture where I’m from.”
Kyrie and his sister Asia were officially welcomed into their late mother Elizabeth’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during a ceremony back in 2018.
“There was a certain point in my life where I had come almost at a crossroads with my dad, my sister, my friends, my grandparents, and I had no idea kind of what direction to go into because I had lost the sense of a foundation,” Irving said to ESPN in 2018.
“Knowing my mom passed and left me such a powerful, empowering family such as Standing Rock … to be a part of it now, this is family for life.”
Kyrie’s Good Energy Is Contagious
Kyrie’s spirit and energy have earned him the respect of both his present and former teammates.
“That’s just what he does,” Nets forward Kevin Durant said to ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth “That gives us good energy. He does it in the locker room. That’s his thing, and we all respect him. We respect his method, and he comes out here and plays extremely hard for us.”
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“Ky is like my big brother,” Boston Celtics star Jason Tatum said to Bleacher Report. “We still talk to this day, and we’ve talked a few times this playoffs. He always encourages me to be special. Having that relationship with him and having somebody like him in my ear at a young age, it means a lot.”
The Nets will need Kyrie to continue to bring that good energy to the team as they embark on the championship trail.