NBA

Unvaccinated Irving defiant after 'historic' home Nets return

By Sports Desk March 28, 2022

Kyrie Irving believes his return to home games for the Brooklyn Nets transcends his status as a basketball player.

The unvaccinated Irving made his season debut in January, when a COVID-19 outbreak forced the Nets to field him on a part-time basis, having initially chosen not to.

New York City vaccine mandates still barred the 30-year-old from playing the Barclays Center, but last week's easing of those mandates allowed for a return to action on his home floor.

Following the 119-110 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Irving wanted to bring matters into perspective.

"I was just trying to ground myself as much as possible today and just prepare for the warm reception from a lot of supporters of the organisation, of me, just the journey thus far," he said post-game.

"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 received a hearty reception from the home crowd as he was introduced in the starting lineup, in what was the Nets' second game of a back-to-back.

The former All-Star struggled to find rhythm despite his 16 points and 11 assists, going six-of-22 from the field and making one out of nine attempts from the perimeter.

But Irving spoke afterwards about how his stance against the vaccine meant his return was not simply about him or the game of basketball.

"Tonight my presence out there was just bigger than the basketball game," Irving said. "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.

"I made it very clear it was never just about me. I think for my 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."

Related items

  • Report: Malik Monk returns to Kings on four-year contract Report: Malik Monk returns to Kings on four-year contract

    The Sacramento Kings will retain a key piece into the foreseeable future as they look to build upon two straight trips to the NBA's play-in tournament.

    Deft scoring guard Malik Monk agreed to remain with the Kings on a four-year, $78million contract, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Thursday night.

    The last year of the deal reportedly carries a player option.

    Monk set career highs last season by averaging 15.4 points and 5.1 assists while finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year award voting.

    Monk, a seven-year veteran out of Kentucky, was due to be an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

    Monk had been linked to several teams searching for an infusion of perimeter scoring in free agency, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic, but those clubs will now need to look elsewhere.

    Monk has averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 458 career NBA games.

    While the Kings have yet to win a play-off series since 2004, Sacramento have strung together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-06. In 2023, the club ended a 16-year post-season drought and forced the defending champion Golden State Warriors to a Game 7 in their first-round play-off series loss.

  • Report: Malik Monk returns to Kings on 4-year contract Report: Malik Monk returns to Kings on 4-year contract

    The Sacramento Kings will retain a key piece into the foreseeable future as they look to build upon two straight trips to the NBA’s play-in tournament.

    Deft scoring guard Malik Monk agreed to remain with the Kings on a four-year, $78million contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Thursday night.

    The last year of the deal reportedly carries a player option.

    Monk set career highs last season by averaging 15.4 points and 5.1 assists while finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year award voting.

    Monk, a seven-year veteran out of Kentucky, was due to be an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

    Monk had been linked to several teams searching for an infusion of perimeter scoring in free agency, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic, but those clubs will now need to look elsewhere.

    Monk has averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 458 career NBA games.

    While the Kings have yet to win a play-off series since 2004, Sacramento have strung together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-06. In 2023, the club ended a 16-year post-season drought and forced the defending champion Golden State Warriors to a Game 7 in their first-round play-off series loss.

  • Thunder reportedly acquiring Caruso from Bulls for Giddey Thunder reportedly acquiring Caruso from Bulls for Giddey

    Oklahoma City and Chicago have swapped guards, with the Thunder acquiring Alex Caruso from the Bulls in exchange for Josh Giddey on Thursday.

    ESPN was the first to report the trade, which cannot become official until July 6.

    The 30-year-old Caruso is considered one of the NBA's top defenders, having been named to a pair of All-Defensive teams.

    He is also viewed as an important role player for a potential championship contender after helping the Los Angeles Lakers win the 2019-20 title.

    The Thunder finished with the Western Conference's best record this past season, but were knocked out of the play-offs in the semi-final round by the Dallas Mavericks.

     

    A seven-year NBA veteran, Caruso averaged career highs of 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds this past season, along with 3.5 assists and 1.69 steals while starting 57 of 71 games.

    Giddey, the sixth overall pick of the 2021 draft, started 80 games for the Thunder this past season, but saw his numbers drop from 2022-23.

    After averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists in his second season, the 21-year-old Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 boards and 4.8 assists in 2023-24. He is a career 46.4 per cent shooter from 3-point range.

    He was investigated for having an improper relationship with an underage girl, but the NBA and police were "unable to corroborate any criminal activity."

    The NBA dropped its investigation.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.