The Brooklyn Nets enter Sunday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a chance to lock up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and with the trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving leading the way, they have obvious championship aspirations heading into the postseason.
After the Nets rolled to a 105-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, Irving, who was fined last week for repeated failure to meet with the media, took an interesting approach with reporters this time around by saying basketball isn’t his main focus right now because of everything going on in the world, including the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m not going to lie to you guys, a lot of stuff is going on in this world, and basketball is just not the most important thing to me right now,” Irving said, via ESPN. “There’s a lot of things going on overseas. All our people are still in bondage across the world, and there’s a lot of dehumanization going on.”
Irving continued: “So I apologize if I’m not going to be focused on y’all questions. It’s just too much going on in the world for me to just be talking about basketball. I focus on this most of the time, 24/7, but it’s just too much going on in this world not to address. It’s just sad to see this s–t going on. It’s not just in Palestine, not just in Israel. It’s all over the world, and I feel it. I’m very compassionate to it – to all races, all cultures and to see it, to see a lot of people being discriminated against, based on their religion, color of their skin, what they believe in. It’s just sad.”
When Irving was asked about balancing basketball and attending to social issues across the globe, he responded by saying that “it’s a job” but added that “you can’t be afraid to say what you believe in.”
“I was raised as a survivor,” Irving continued. “My family comes from practically the bottom in the South Bronx. They came out of some extreme conditions. I’m the product of a lot of sacrifice. … It’s a unique balance because you’re on a platform or industry that – a lot of people that are around it or surviving it don’t really get a chance to say what they believe in, or they have to play it safe, or they have to worry about money, or they have to worry about what people are saying.
“It’s not about consuming information or trying to be right or politically correct. It’s about doing what God intends us all to do – that’s to stand on the good word of treating everyone with respect, compassion and love.”
The Nets will secure the second seed if they beat the Cavaliers on Sunday night. Entering the matchup, Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds for Brooklyn.