Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving reunited with his team on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after a two-week hiatus.
ESPN reported that Irving told reporters that he was “happy to be back.” He added, “And we got some great pieces, and we just move on, and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing. Just needed a pause.”
Irving had missed the last seven games — five were for personal reasons that he did not reveal, and two while conditioning. When questioned about his absence, the star said, “had a lot of family and personal stuff going on.” He added, “So just want to leave it at that.”
However, during his time away, the league fined the six-time NBA All-Star $50,000 for violating health and safety protocols for attending what appeared to be his sister’s birthday party.
The league also announced last week that Irving would forfeit salary for each game he had to miss during his five-day quarantine protocol, which works out to $400,000 per game in his case. He was forced to quarantine as a result of attending his sister’s party. Fans later slammed Irving for his actions, and this week he did not address whether he knew he was violating the NBA’s coronavirus safety rules. “It’s time to move on,” he told ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “Happy to be back. Thank you.”
The 28-year-old practiced with the team on Tuesday, and coach Steve Nash revealed that he expects the athlete will play during Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, Irving’s press conference did switch to a lighter note when he was asked about his philanthropic efforts. Former NBA player Stephen Jackson recently claimed that Irving bought Gianni, the late George Floyd‘s 7-year-old daughter, and her family a home.
“As you can see, there’s a deeper level of emotions that I have for helping and serving people around the world, and I’ve done it since I was a kid, and I’ll continue on, way after basketball,” Irving expressed. “Basketball is given enough, might I say, perspective and attention on some of the things I’ve been into. And now that my life has changed, and you know, with that change comes accepting that there are older versions of me that I didn’t necessarily like or things that I would like to do different or conversations I would like to have with different people to address. You know, man-to-man talk or man-to-women or just honest talk.”
Irving admitted there is nothing ordinary about the life he lives, but it’s something that he has come to accept and embrace. He says he’s dedicated to using it as “a tool to able to change things that I want to see in the world.”