NBA

Kyrie Irving tried to warn against NBA restart for this very reason

Before the NBA’s restart, Kyrie Irving shared his displeasure with the return to basketball for the same reasons players are now boycotting games.

Over the years, Kyrie Irving‘s voice is not one that many people have regarded kindly. From his comments about the flat earth or questioning the authenticity of the moon landing, people often see him as a conspiracy theorist rather than the voice of reason for the NBA.

Usually finding himself on the wrong side of news headlines, Irving once again found himself in hot water after he rebelled against the NBA’s plan to restart the season following the stoppage in March. The 28-year-old believed returning to the court would take away from the current social justice movement spread across the nation following the murder of George Floyd.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

“On a call that included nearly 100 players and several stars on Friday night, Irving made an impassioned plea for players to make a stand and sit out the season’s resumption in Orlando, sources said. Around 90 minutes in length, the call included several players suggesting they’d be willing to sit out the season — and numerous more discussing social issues, league economics and, ultimately, a sense that they needed to be united in a decision.”

As usual, Irving received a plentiful amount of backlash for his comments. Speaking on ESPN’s Get Up, current analyst Kendrick Perkins sounded off on Irving, not holding back his words. Perkins believed Irving was attempting to thwart the NBA’s restart because the team denied him access to join his Brooklyn Nets as rehabbed from season-ending shoulder surgery.

Transcribed by the Boston Globe:

“If you take Kyrie Irving’s brain and put it in a bird right now… it’s going to fly backward because Kyrie right now is confused, he’s showing his lack of leadership.”

“This was the same guy about 10 days ago that came out and said that he wanted to join the team and be in Orlando around his team. The agreement was that inactive players couldn’t go because there was only a certain amount of people in the bubble. What changed over the last 9-10 days?”

“What changed was, from what I strongly believe and what I heard, is the NBA and the Players Association told Kyrie that, ‘No, you can’t go.'”

Over two months later and well into the NBA’s restart, the Milwaukee Bucks kicked off a historical day in the world of sports. Set to take on the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first-round matchup, Milwaukee never took the court, boycotting the game in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Soon enough, everyone else followed suit, forcing the NBA to postpone all games on Wednesday and Thursday, with the potential of canceling the season entirely currently being pondered as players want to focus on social justice.

There was a league-wide meeting Wednesday night to discuss the next steps moving forward, and two teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, both voted to cancel the season entirely. Just days ago, the several members of the Toronto Raptors were discussing leaving the bubble and heading home as well. Bucks guard George Hill chimed in with, “First all, we shouldn’t have came to this damn place to be honest.”

These powerful statements did not stay enclosed inside the NBA’s Orlando bubble but spread across several sports leagues. Several teams from the MLB, MLS, and NFL, postponed both games and practices Wednesday, undoubtedly sending a message that the NBA is not alone in this fight for justice.

The NBA playoffs appear set to resume on the weekend, but the players have made their voices heard and it seems like Kyrie Irving, the vice president of the Players Association, might not have been so crazy after all. Wednesday was a revolutionary day in the wide world of sports, and it appears that several talking heads owe Kyrie Irving an apology for speaking up before the NBA’s restart.

Next: Bucks’ protest is exactly what the NBA restart is about