“I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with systematic racism and bullshit. I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform).”
Kyrie Irving is the most prominent NBA player to oppose the NBA’s plan to resume the NBA season at the end of July, leading a call on Friday of 80 NBA and WNBA players questioning the return of professional basketball in the face of national unrest over racial injustice. Kyrie reportedly voiced concerns over the optics of black players providing entertainment that effectively undermines the severity of the current social climate.
Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley have echoed Kyrie’s beliefs, while players like Austin Rivers claim not all players have Kyrie’s means to just put their careers on hold. Meanwhile a group of high-profile players including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook agreed on a call last month to form a “united front” to return to play, with Kyrie being left off the call.
The always animated Kendrick Perkins and longtime critic of Kyrie Irving blasted the Nets guard for starting “unnecessary drama” between NBA players and urged him to “retire today and make this full time.”
Former NBA veteran Matt Barnes has joined the skeptical camp, and revealed on the podcast he co-hosts with Stephen Jackson the rumors he’s heard about Kyrie’s dubious intentions.
Matt Barnes speaking the truth per usual. I highly suggest checking out the full IGTV post with Stak on Matts profile… pic.twitter.com/rjLz6qfQwc
— BasketballZack (@ZackbkHoops) June 15, 2020
“Kyrie needs to quit bulls—-ing,” Barnes said. “Kyrie wanted to go to Orlando to support his team, they didn’t let him. So then he flipped the script, talking about I’m gonna give up everything. Bro, you can give up everything and go do the Maya Moore s–t if you really want to. But at the same time, sitting out without a cause or a purpose defeats the purpose.”
It should be noted that Kyrie Irving is injured and would not play in Orlando anyway.
Stephen Jackson, a good friend of George Floyd, countered Barnes’ “bullshitting” claim by revealed that Kyrie has been calling him nearly every day on FaceTime, sometimes crying.
“The first press conference I had, he been calling me damn near every day on FaceTime,” Jackson said about Irving. “He’s been passionate about this, and by the conversation he had, I just think he understands this moment. He’s just like me. I don’t have all the answers, and he’s speaking off heart, he’s speaking off passion because I said this on no interview, bro. He been calling me cryin’, bruh, because he literally knows that I’m putting everything on the line.”
The fact of the matter is, Patrick Beverley is right: whatever LeBron says, goes. And LeBron is hungry for the hardwood.