NBA

Irving “moved on” with Nets after winning the comeback

Irving “moved on” with Nets after winning the comeback

Irving “moved on” with Nets after winning the comeback

NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving said he “never had any doubt” he would return to the team after serving an eight-game suspension for “the harmful impact of his conduct” related to social media posts about a book and a film that contained anti-Semitic ideas.

Irving, who scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes Sunday night as the Nets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 127-115he was glad to be back on the floor with his teammates after missing more than two weeks.

“It felt good,” Irving said. “It felt good. I missed my teammates, I missed the coaching staff. … It felt good to get that game out of the way. Now we can move forward with the rest of the season.”

Irving, who apologized again earlier Sunday while reiterating that he is “not anti-Semitic,” was asked if he might file a complaint in the future regarding his suspension.

“I have to leave it to my legal team and I have to leave it to the warriors that I have around me,” Irving said. “I have strong people, men and women around me, who are going to do everything they can to make sure that I’m protected, that my family is protected and that we protect each other. So I’m sure some things will be done in the future, but there is no calendar right now.”

Irving, who said he wanted to keep the focus on the game and deflected a handful of questions about off-court matters, was asked after the game how he plans to balance when to use his voice and platform.

“I wish I was on a platform where I could openly share how I feel without being harshly criticized or labeled,” Irving said. “Or dealing with outside perceptions that have nothing to do with me.”

When fans arrived at the Barclays Center before Sunday’s game, they were greeted by dozens of Israel United in Christ people outside the building. Many within the group, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, handed out pamphlets with the headlines “The Truth About Anti-Semitism” and “The Truth About Slavery.” Boston Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown retweeted a video of the group with the caption: “Energy.”

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

“I think that’s a conversation for another day,” Irving said when asked about the rally. “I’m here to focus on the game.”

As for the game, Nets players and coaches were happy to have him back on the floor and focus on basketball, instead of the issues that have swirled around both Irving and the team since the its suspension on November 3.

“It’s always nice to focus on the game,” the Nets forward said Kevin Durant said “Now we understand the circumstances surrounding our game. Our league is getting bigger, there’s a lot of attention, so every little thing could explode nowadays, so we can focus on playing ball and keep growing as a team. , I think our fans can get behind it. I think you guys will too. So we just want to keep putting up good days, see what happens.”

Nets swingman Ben Simmons summed up how several of his teammates felt about Irving’s return.

“It’s Kyrie, he’s got a lot of talent,” Simmons said. “Obviously he’s working on his handle again, trying to get a feel for the ball, but he’s so talented it’s easy to play with him.”



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