Home US SportsNBA Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving ‘grateful I got a chance to be out there with my brothers’ after Barclays Center season debut

Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving ‘grateful I got a chance to be out there with my brothers’ after Barclays Center season debut


NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving made his dwelling debut Sunday night time throughout a 119-110 loss to the Charlotte Hornets — making it clear he believes his presence on the ground represents one thing a lot bigger than a basketball participant.

“I was just trying to ground myself as much as possible today,” Irving mentioned. “And just prepare for the warm reception from a lot of supporters of the organization, of me, just the journey thus far. So I don’t take it for granted what happened tonight; it was historic. I’m grateful I got a chance to be out there with my brothers and just leave it all out there.”

Irving, who just isn’t vaccinated towards COVID-19, had not been capable of play at Barclays Middle all season due to New York Metropolis’s personal employer mandate. Mayor Eric Adams rolled again that mandate final week for athletes and performers, permitting Irving to play his first dwelling sport.

The 30-year-old former All-Star received a giant ovation from the sold-out crowd — the most important within the facility’s historical past at 18,166 — after being launched within the beginning lineup. Simply earlier than tipoff, he walked to middle courtroom and pointed across the enviornment to acknowledge the reception he received from the Brooklyn followers.

“Tonight, my presence out there was just bigger than the basketball game,” Irving mentioned. “I was just representing a lot of individuals that are out there in a similar situation as me. And now that I can play, I think we should be opened up for everybody.”

Irving struggled to discover a rhythm all night time, ending simply 6-for-22 from the sphere in virtually 41 minutes on the second night time of a back-to-back. He had 16 factors and 11 assists however was simply 1-for-9 from past the arc.

“It was great to see him out there,” Nets star Kevin Durant mentioned. “Good to see the fans excited for him. Unfortunately, we took the L, though. But we move forward knowing that we have him here. Build on what we have and try to get a win next game.”

After being requested how he wished his stance towards taking the vaccine to be remembered, Irving spoke passionately for over two minutes about how he felt he was standing up for extra individuals than simply himself.

“I made it very clear it was never just about me,” Irving mentioned. “I think for my own legacy, that’s to be written by all those that I impact and all those that impact me, and it’s far bigger than just a basketball game. But when I’m in this locker room, I get a chance to perform with a bunch of guys that are selfless and are sacrificing just as much as I am. It makes it worthwhile. …

“The purpose of this season for me was by no means to only take a stand. It was actually to guarantee that I am standing on what I consider in, in freedom. Freedom. I do not suppose that is a phrase that will get outlined sufficient in our society. In regards to the freedom to make decisions along with your life with out somebody telling you what the f— to do.”

The Nets originally decided before the season that they did not want Irving as a part-time player, but they reversed course in December after a coronavirus outbreak ravaged the team. Irving made his season debut on Jan. 5 in a win at the Indiana Pacers. Sunday marked his first game inside Barclays Center since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks on June 7, 2021.

“I am standing for freedom,” Irving said. “In order that’s in all sides of my life. There’s no person that is enslaving me, there’s no person that is telling me what I’ll do with my life, and that is simply the way in which I’m. If I get tarnished by way of my picture and folks attempt to slander my identify repeatedly, these aren’t issues that I neglect. I have not forgotten something that anyone mentioned. I do not learn every thing, however I positively learn some issues that put my household’s identify in a sure place that I consider are unfair.

“I’ve been discriminated against. People have said things that have been biased. They’ve gone against their own morals. And where we’re living today, I have such a strong moral code of just being honest, being truthful, following God’s guidance and just living with the results. But in terms of that, I’m a servant. I’m comfortable being in that position.”

The loss to the Hornets dropped the 39-36 Nets into ninth place within the Japanese Convention. They do not have the tiebreaker towards eighth-place Charlotte (additionally 39-36) however do have a positive schedule within the ultimate two weeks of the season, with 5 of their remaining seven video games towards groups at or beneath the .500 mark.

Regardless of the loss, Irving discovered consolation being again on the ground in a spot the place he hadn’t performed in additional than 9 months.

“Not the result we wanted,” Irving mentioned. “I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted. Basically none of the things I had hoped for going well tonight, it just didn’t happen. And that’s just the flow of basketball. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, it felt OK, but just the jump shot wasn’t falling tonight. We weren’t hitting shots. So not the result we wanted, but definitely grateful that we were part of history tonight and I got to do it here.”

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