NBA

Kyrie speaks out against Morant's 'overload of judgement from the court of public opinion'

By Sports Desk March 21, 2023

Dallas Mavericks' All-Star Kyrie Irving took the opportunity in his post-game media appearance to share support for recently suspended Memphis Grizzlies franchise player Ja Morant.

The comments came after Monday's 112-108 road loss in Memphis, where Irving and Morant were seen embracing after the final whistle.

Morant had missed his ninth game in a row following an incident at a Colorado nightclub where he was seen on an Instagram live video flashing a gun to the camera.

An investigation by the NBA found the Grizzlies star guilty of bringing the league into disrepute by "holding a firearm in an intoxicated state", but there was no evidence the weapon belonged to him, or that he brought it onto the team plane, or any NBA facilities.

He was suspended for eight games, and missed Monday's contest also as he works his way back into game shape.

Irving said he understands what Morant is going through, and that he feels the public and media have treated him unfairly.

"I believe any hardship in life builds character," Irving told reporters. "When you’re dealing with particular hardships in the public eye, especially with the media being attracted to just keeping up with what we’re doing, or what’s the next kind of grab or story.

"I don’t want to assume anything by every media member, but that’s just the way it seems for me and my perspective, which is there was an overload of judgement on Ja. 

"There was an overload of judgement on what I had going on, and there’s usually an overload of judgement from the public court of opinion."

He went on to discuss the "initial shock" Morant must have faced "dealing with the public opinion and all of the extra hoopla that comes with it".

"But then there’s a real human being dealing with emotion," he said. "I care about that aspect. That’s where I’m putting my energy. 

"I wished his family well wishes, I wished him well wishes, and I just pray for his peace of mind.

"I was happy to see him out there today, and I just want him to make it through. He has a long career ahead of him. I don’t think anybody should be controlling but him."

Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks shared that he feels Morant has nothing to prove to the rest of the group when he returns to action, saying "hell no" to the thought of the All-NBA talent coming off the bench as he works his way back.

"He's proved everything from the jump," he said. "Love him as a brother. He’s the one who really put this city on the map. 

"We were a low-market team, just roaming around the NBA. Now we're one of the most talked about teams in the NBA. We have a pride in the sense of a chip on our shoulder every single game.

"He doesn't have to prove anything to us. We have his back and he has our back."

Irving ended up leaving the arena in a walking boot, which he called "precautionary" to protect his previously injured and now swollen toe after Brooks fell on it in the third quarter.

"I just gotta make it back home to Dallas and start my recovery work and do everything I can to prepare for the next day and a half," he said. "Take time, rest and exhaust all my options to be ready to play the next game. 

"I was really worried about my ankle being sprained, but once we came back here. It wasn't, it was just a re-aggravation of that same spot on the top of my right foot... It went in a position where I could only re-aggravate my big toe. Again, unfortunate, but just looking forward to the next 48 hours."

Related items

  • Suns point guard Booker expected to be sidelined for 7-to-10 days Suns point guard Booker expected to be sidelined for 7-to-10 days

    The Phoenix Suns will likely be without Devin Booker for 7-to-10 days after the four-time All-Star sprained his right ankle late in Saturday’s 118-109 loss to the Houston Rockets.

    Booker had 24 points in 38:21 of action before getting injured when he stepped on teammate Royce O'Neale's foot.

    Booker is averaging 27.5 points - second on the Suns behind Kevin Durant (27.8) – and leads the team with 6.8 assists per game while also averaging 4.6 rebounds.

    Booker, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are the only three players in the NBA averaging at least 27.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.

    Phoenix (35-26) is in seventh place in the Western Conference and battling a handful of teams for positioning in an attempt to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament.

  • LeBron James 'hated' circumstances of reaching record 40,000-point mark LeBron James 'hated' circumstances of reaching record 40,000-point mark

    LeBron James "hated" the circumstances in which he reached 40,000 career points as it came in a defeat for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The NBA's record all-time scorer hit the latest milestone in his career in the second quarter of his side's 124-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

    James scored a team-high 26 points, taking his overall tally to 40,017, but it was not enough as the Lakers' two-game winning run was snapped.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said after the contest at Crypto.com Arena

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. 

    "We played some good basketball tonight, but wasn't able to close it out. So, it's bittersweet but I enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

    James is averaging 25.3 points per game this season, which is currently the 17th-best return of any player.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 and even 20 years ago," James added.

    The loss was the Lakers' eighth in a row against the Nuggets and continued a theme of James losing games in which he hits a milestone figure.

    James also fell short in games that saw him hit 10,000 rebounds, 10,000 assists, 30,000 points and a record 38,388 points.

    The 20-time NBA All-Star surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 40-year points record last season and is showing no signs of letting up.

    Of all active players, the Phoenix Suns' Kevin Durant is closest to James with 28,342 points, while Stephen Curry has 23,254 points.

    Asked if James' ever-growing tally will ever be surpassed, team-mate Anthony Davis said: "Possibly Steph, the way he shoots the ball, but I guess not?"

    "It's just tough because he's not finished playing, so it's only going to increase. That gap is only going to get bigger and bigger.

    "So as of right now, I don't see anybody breaking his record."

    James does not quite see it that way, though, adding: "We have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball.

    "If they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it. Records are always meant to be broken. Never say never."

    The 33-29 Lakers are 10th in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

  • Curry laments 'perfect storm' as Warriors demolished by Celtics Curry laments 'perfect storm' as Warriors demolished by Celtics

    Stephen Curry lamented a "perfect storm" as the Golden State Warriors were on the end of a 140-88 defeat to the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

    The loss at TD Garden was the fourth-worst the Warriors, who entered the contest in good form, have suffered in franchise history.

    It marks the third time this season the Celtics have won by 50 points or more, meanwhile, as they racked up an 11th victory in a row.

    "The way that they've been playing, they seem very sure of themselves in their identity and who they are," Curry said. "Give them credit. 

    "They came out and whooped us from the jump, and it was a perfect storm of a rough [day] on our end and them taking it to us."

    Curry played despite being questionable, but he did not feature in the second half as he finished with a season-low tally of four points.

    The Warriors will hope to have Curry back to full fitness for their return to action against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

    "This was not a day off for Steph, though he probably could have used one," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.

    "He's played so well and for so long this year. Hopefully the next few days he'll get it recharged."

    Jaylen Brown led the scoring with 29 points, while birthday boy Jayson Tatum had 26 in the Celtics' third-biggest victory in franchise history.

    Boston led by a franchise-record 44 points at the midway point and went on to extend their advantage to 51 before making some changes.

    "It feels great, but, at the same time, it's always within humility," Brown said. "We don't take the game for granted. 

    "We didn't come and mess around and that's just how we show our respect to the game, we handle business and take care of it.

    "It's a lot of respect for the Golden State Warriors, but we feel like it's our time now."

    The 48-12 Celtics lead the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors are ninth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-28. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.