Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving will make his debut with Kevin Durant and James Harden on Wednesday against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The All-Star returned to the Nets on Tuesday after taking personal leave and missing seven games.
While speaking to the media on Tuesday, Irving said he was dealing with some personal things and needed to take a pause. Nets fans have been trying to figure out why Uncle Drew was away from the team, and it appears Irving’s absence had something to do with police officers not being held accountable.
Kyrie Irving apologizes to Nets fans
Kyrie Irving, who grew up a Nets fan, apologized to Brooklyn supporters for his absence. The one-time champion, who was fined for violating the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, is happy to be back with the Nets and excited to play with Kevin Durant again and James Harden for the first time.
“The fans out there, I want to apologize to them as well. My commitment has always been to bringing something special to Brooklyn,” Irving said, via SNY. “It wasn’t just a championship. It was unity, equality, just bigger things than just the game itself. It took quite a while and quite a few valleys to get back home, initially. So for me, I’m just taking every day, just being grateful. But for the casual, or the fanatic, it’s part of our culture. And I’m back, I’m happy to be back. And we got some great pieces and we just move on and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing. Just needed a pause.”
Irving was averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game before taking his leave of absence from the Nets. Brooklyn fans can’t wait to see Kyrie, KD, and Harden share the floor for the first time against the Cavs.
However, some people are curious about Kyrie Irving’s mental health and why he needed time off. While the riots at the US Capitol by Donald Trump supporters may have been one reason why Irving stepped away from basketball, the news that the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t be facing any criminal charges was reportedly a bigger factor.
Kyrie Irving is upset that Jacob Blake’s shooter wasn’t charged
In August, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, Irving is distraught that Sheskey wasn’t charged for shooting Blake. The former No. 1 overall pick, who recently bought George Floyd’s family a house, needed time with his family after the Blake news dropped.
“As an aside, I’m not going to try to guess as to why Irving left the club prior to their Jan. 7 game against the Sixers,” Begley wrote. “Various reports have stated that he was upset over the riots at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. However, those familiar with Irving’s thinking said that the news that the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t be facing any criminal charges factored into his absence. That event, more so than the riots at the Capitol Building, contributed to Irving being away from the club, those people say.”
Can the Nets count on Uncle Drew for the rest of the season?
NBA experts are picking the Nets to win the Eastern Conference after acquiring James Harden from the Houston Rockets. However, can the team count on Kyrie Irving to stay focused on the task at hand for the rest of the season?
That’s likely going to be the only question the Nets face moving forward, as their talent on the floor speaks for itself.