Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving finally put an end to his media blackout on Monday. Irving spoke to reporters after a team practice on Monday.
Just on Friday, the NBA made an announcement that it was fining both Irving and the Nets $25,000 for refusing to follow through with league-mandated media appearances. Instead of being available to speak with reporters, Irving had issued a statement to ensure that his message was “conveyed properly.”
However, Irving spoke with reporters on Monday morning after Nets practice.
The star point guard initially responded to the $25,000 fine in an Instagram post. He wrote, “I pray we utilize the ‘fine money for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently… I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”
In his first time back with the media, Irving touched on a number of topics. One of those was his “pawns” comment and why he chose to violate the league’s media rules.
“The focus is on what’s going on in here, you know, my job,” Irving said. “And I wanted to make sure that that was clear, no distractions, nothing about dispelling anything, nothing about going back-and-forth, nor about calling out one person or another, not even to refer to you guys as pawns, you know what I mean, or media.”
He said on Monday that his goal with his previous comments was to raise awareness about the mistreatment of certain artists.
“It’s just really how I felt about the mistreatment of certain artists when we get to a certain platform of when we make decisions within our lives to have full control and ownership … We want to perform in a secure and protected space,” he said.
Kyrie Irving Back on the Court With Kevin Durant
Kyrie Irving also reflected on playing for the first time since February and being on the court with fellow star player Kevin Durant. That was following his on-court debut with Durant on Sunday — a 119-115 win over the Washington Wizards. Irving and Durant put up a combined 33 points. It was their first time playing together since they decided to come to the Nets in the summer of 2019.
Irving finished with 18 points and four assists in Brooklyn’s preseason-opening win against the Wizards. He and Durant fueled the Nets’ fast start. Durant had 15 at the half on 5-of-8 shooting. Meanwhile, Irving shot 7-of-9 in the first half, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.
“It’s a different show, it was a different stage, and it’s a new beginning in terms of what we’re building,” Irving said. “And moving forward with the pieces that we have here. And that includes 7-11, so get to know us.”