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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Articles tagged: Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving makes statement about future with Nets

Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is in the final season of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and there is a real lack of clarity about his future. Irving, through his agent, has apparently made clear what his preference would be.

Irving’s agent Shetellia Irving said the guard wants a contract extension with the Nets, but so far the team has not set up any talks about a possible deal.

“Around Kyrie and staying with the Nets? I have reached out to the Nets regarding this,” Shetellia Irving told Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. “We have had no significant conversations to date. The desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension, which means the ball is in the Nets’ court to communicate now if their desire is the same.”

Irving had sought a new contract last offseason, but the two sides were unable to agree on a new deal. While some rumors about Irving’s wild demands were apparently unfounded, the Nets may have had some reservations after the All-Star guard was limited to 29 games in 2021-22 due to vaccine requirements. More controversy followed this season, and some reports suggest that has soured the Nets on Irving even more.

The guard has been on a hot streak lately and is averaging 26.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for the season. He would be eligible for a full max extension worth roughly $200 million over four seasons.

Kyrie Irving says Instagram suspended his account

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second quarter of game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is having another bout of social media drama this week.

The Brooklyn Nets star posted Thursday from his secondary art page (@kaieyeart, which is mentioned in his main page) that he had been suspended by Instagram.

“They suspended my @kyrieirving account,” he wrote, sharing a screenshot of his suspension notification. “idk why, nor do I care to know the reason why. Tribe My Tribe: Make sure y’all are paying attention to everything that’s going on. Stand Firm no matter what. Hélà.”

Irving’s main account, which has over 18 million followers, was active again and no longer suspended as of Friday. From the current public view of his page, it appears Irving hadn’t posted anything to that account since Dec. 29 (though he has had several polarizing Instagram posts in the past).

Irving has a strong public persona and online presence, making numerous headlines with his divisive opinions. Earlier this season, the 30-year-old got himself into big trouble for what he posted on a different social network. But nevertheless, Irving remains an extremely popular player (as the recent NBA All-Star voting returns have demonstrated).

Early NBA All-Star voting returns have 1 surprising position leader

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks to media before game one of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

One NBA star has had quite the midseason rebound.

The first voting returns for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game were shared by the league on Thursday. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was that Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is head and shoulders above the competition among Eastern Conference guards, leading the pack with 2,071,715 total votes.

Here is the full list of early voting results for both conferences:

Irving is having a fine campaign (26.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game) for a Nets team that just ripped off a 12-game winning streak. But it was not all that long ago that Irving was suspended by the Nets for tweeting a link to an antisemitic film, one of the biggest controversies in the NBA this season. There are also several other excellent candidates among East guards like Donovan Mitchell (who just erupted for a 71-point game), Jaylen Brown (who stars for the NBA-best Boston Celtics), and the up-and-comer Tyrese Haliburton (who leads the league in assists this season).

From Irving’s highly-publicized absence last season over his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to his promotion of conspiracy theories like the earth being flat, Irving’s overall brand is so divisive that he recently got dropped by a major sponsor. But it appears that none of that has negatively affected his popularity in the All-Star fan vote, despite the NBA introducing some new gatekeeping methods this year.

Pistons had hilarious way of trolling Kyrie Irving at free throw line

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons did their homework with Kyrie Irving coming into town over the weekend.

The Pistons went viral during Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets for their hilarious way of trolling Irving at the free throw line. As Irving stepped to the stripe in the fourth quarter, Pistons game operations put up an image of a spinning globe on the JumboTron for his first attempt. They then put up an image that read, “Happy Hannukah” during Irving’s second attempt (per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports).

Irving attracted infamy in 2017 when he voiced a belief that the Earth is flat (hence the spinning globe image). Meanwhile, Irving also sparked an outcry earlier this year when he tweeted out a link to an antisemitic movie. He was suspended by the Nets for doing so and ultimately lost a major sponsorship (hence the “Happy Hanukkah” image).

Still, Irving was unfazed by the troll job and hit both free throws (perhaps because he wouldn’t have really been able to see the JumboTron from the free throw line). The Nets also went on to win the game 124-121. But those Pistons certainly know how to clown opponents during their free throws.

Kyrie Irving could land another major shoe endorsement after Nike split?

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second quarter of game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving might not be a sneaker free agent for very long.

Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports is reporting this week that New Balance could potentially be in the mix to sign the Brooklyn Nets star Irving to an endorsement deal. Irving was recently dropped by longtime sponsor Nike over his antisemitic behavior.

The seven-time All-Star Irving had been signed to Nike since 2014. But the recent scandal in which Irving tweeted out a link to an antisemitic film (and subsequently refused to apologize for doing so) led to both Nike halting their relationship with him as well as the Nets suspending him without pay.

Irving has since made amends for his behavior, completing all the remedial measures that the Nets had laid out for him to return to the court. He was reinstated by the team on Nov. 20 and has since played in their last ten games, averaging 23.3 points per game (as Brooklyn has gone 7-3).

But Irving was not able to get his Nike endorsement back with the company announcing earlier this week that their relationship with Irving had gone from a suspension to an outright termination. Irving went on to take the court with the Nike logos on his shoes covered up and the messages “I AM FREE. Thank you God … I AM” and “Logo here” written over them instead.

While not quite Nike or Adidas, New Balance still has some massive NBA names on their roster. It appears that the very available Irving is next in their sights.

Nike makes decision on Kyrie Irving’s future

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nike suspended its relationship with Kyrie Irving last month amid the latest drama surrounding the Brooklyn Nets star, and the company has now decided to sever ties altogether.

A Nike spokesperson said Monday that Irving is no longer associated with the brand, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Nike was initially set to release Irving’s latest shoe, the Nike Kyrie 8s, in late November. That launch obviously will not happen.

Irving sparked widespread backlash a month ago when he shared a link to an antisemitic film on social media. He subsequently refused to apologize for doing so, which resulted in him being suspended by the Nets. Irving has since returned after supposedly meeting several conditions to have the ban lifted.

Whatever Irving did, it was not enough for Nike. There was talk that Irving could lose his endorsement deal with Nike months before the latest saga. That was probably just the final straw.

Jaylen Brown tries to backtrack on tweet about Kyrie Irving support

May 19, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) brings the ball up court during the first half of game two of the 2022 eastern conference finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Brown is the latest star athlete to show support for Kyrie Irving before fully understanding the situation, and the Boston Celtics star has quickly backtracked.

Irving returned from his seven-game suspension for the Brooklyn Nets’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. Hours before tip-off, a large collection of people representing the Black Hebrew Israelites gathered outside the Barclays Center to show their support for Irving. Brown thought that was a cool gesture, so he quote-tweeted the following video of the rally and wrote “Energy.”

The Black Hebrew Israelite members were handing out flyers featuring the same type of anti-semitic propaganda that Irving got in trouble for supporting. The propaganda was from a group called the Radical Hebrew Israelites, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Brown followed up on Twitter by claiming he was unaware of what group he was supporting.

“I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight. I was celebrating the unification of our people welcoming the return of Kyrie to the court, first glance I thought it was a known fraternity the (C/Que’s) Omega psi phi (step’n) showing support,” Brown wrote.

Irving was repeatedly asked questions about the group following Brooklyn’s 127-115 win, and he said that is a conversation for another day.

Brown is not the only prominent NBA player to show support for Irving, but he was given a quick reminder of the risks involved with doing so.

Nets set return date for suspended Kyrie Irving

Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets appear ready to put Kyrie Irving’s current controversy behind them.

The Nets are expected to clear Irving to play Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, ending his suspension, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. If that is the case, Irving will have sat for eight games after promoting an antisemitic film on his Twitter account.

Both the Nets and the NBA are happy with the effort Irving has put in during the suspension to meet with community leaders. One source told Charania that Irving had gone “above and beyond” what had been expected of him, paving the way for his return.

Irving last played for the Nets on Nov. 1. He was initially not apologetic about his promotion of the film, but eventually did issue an apology after the Nets suspended him and backlash grew. The team made clear that Irving would be expected to take multiple steps before his suspension was lifted, and he has apparently done what was asked of him.

The Nets won four of five games after Irving was suspended, but have lost twice in a row after that, including an embarrassing 153-121 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Kyrie Irving’s projected return date to Nets lineup revealed

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving’s controversial suspension from the Brookyn Nets appears to be nearing an end.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Wednesday that Irving is nearing completion on the process laid out for him by the Nets to return from his team-imposed suspension. Wojnarowski adds that the seven-time All-Star could possibly rejoin the Nets as soon as Sunday’s game against Memphis.

Irving was suspended without pay by the Nets for “at least” five games on Nov. 3 after he tweeted out a link to an antisemitic movie and subsequently refused to apologize for doing so. Brooklyn gave the former top overall pick a number of steps he would need to complete before returning to the court. Those steps were seen as excessive by some, including a top NBA star who voiced his support for Irving.

If Irving does indeed return against the Grizzlies, his suspension will have lasted for eight games. As it stands right now, Irving has been out the last seven games, and the Nets have gone 4-3 in that span. Granted, they have lost their last two contests by a combined 45 points, and Irving’s co-star sounds extremely frustrated right now.

LeBron James takes stand in support of Kyrie Irving

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James spoke up on Thursday and voiced support for his suspended former teammate, Kyrie Irving.

Irving is currently serving a 5-game suspension for the Brooklyn Nets. The team reportedly has a long list of things Irving must do before being cleared to return to action. A recent report even said that Irving’s suspension will likely last longer than five games.

On Thursday, James wrote a note on Twitter arguing that Irving’s suspension is “excessive.”

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session,” James wrote.

James may not be alone in feeling that Irving’s punishment is excessive. But James has already positioned himself as cut-throat when it comes to penalties from the league for those who do questionable things off the court.

Just two months ago, he pressured the league to do more to Robert Sarver.

“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint (sic) it,” James wrote on Twitter in September regarding the punishment for Sarver, who has since said he will sell the Phoenix Suns.

That’s James saying the league holds itself as an example of values.

Did LeBron James ever argue that the punishment for Meyers Leonard was too severe? The answer is no.

James picks and chooses his spots, and he wants selective enforcement of strict punishments. With Leonard he was silent. With Sarver, he wanted the maximum. And with Irving, he wants leniency and consideration of character.

James is so inconsistent it’s hard to keep up with what he actually stands for.