The Nets are playing the biggest games of their season, but there are far bigger things going on in the world. And Kyrie Irving is using his platform to remind people about them, and shed light on more important issues off the court.
The Nets star declined to answer basketball questions following Saturday’s 105-91 win over the Bulls. Instead, he turned the focus toward greater world problems, including the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestine.
“I’m not gonna 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. “There’s a lot of stuff going on overseas, all my people, they’re still in bondage all across the world. And there’s a lot of dehumanization going on. So, I apologize if I’m not going to be focused on your questions. It’s just too much going on in the world for me just be talking about basketball.
“I’m focused on this [crap] 24-7 most of the time, but it’s just too much going on as well not to address. It’s sad to see this [crap] going on. And it’s not just in Palestine. It’s not just in Israel. It’s all over the world, man. And I feel it. I’m very compassionate to all races, all cultures, and to see a lot of different people being discriminated upon or against based on their religion, color their skin, what they believe in … we all say ‘we’re human beings, and we care and we’re compassionate.’ But what are you doing to help?
“My goal out here, my purpose, is to help humanity. And I can’t sit here and not address that. I don’t care which way you stand on either side, if you’re a human being and you support the anti-war effort that’s going on, there’s a lot of people losing their lives, children, a lot of babies. That’s just what I’m focused on.”
The conflict to which Irving alluded has been going on since the end of World War II. But the latest weeklong outbreak of violence has been staggering.
Israel bombed the house of Hamas’ Gaza leader, Yahya Sinwar, and Hamas launched over 100 rockets toward Israel on Sunday, according to CNN. The death toll in Gaza has reached 192 — including 58 children, according to Reuters. At least 1,225 have been injured, with the number expected to rise.
“When you’re paying attention or you’re aware of what’s going on, you’re conscious of what’s going on in the world and you feel it, what are you going to do about it?” Irving asked rhetorically. “Are you going to write about it? Are you going to tweet about it? Are you going to be out there with them? Are you going to protest? Are you going to plan and strategize for what we can do better as a community, meaning a community that stands with unity and liberation.”
The local offices of the Associated Press were destroyed in the Israeli bombing.
Irving is known for his philanthropy, from buying a house for George Floyd’s family, to donating to WNBA players during the pandemic shutdown, to funding food banks.
“I just try to pay it forward as best I can, by speaking out by doing things behind the scenes,” Irving said. “We’re so divided and separated. It’s just getting ridiculous. Now so many people are just choosing one side or the other. And I’m just here to say I’m on the side with God, and I’m siding with God. Just treat every human being the way you expect to be treated, no matter who they are, what they look like where they come from. If you truly believe in stand as one, then you’ll stand with us.
“You just can’t be afraid to say what you believe in. It’s not about consuming information or trying to be right, politically correct. It’s just about doing what God intends us all to do. And that’s to stand on the good word of treating everyone with respect, compassion, and love.”
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