Kyrie Irving isn’t slowing down in his fight against the NBA restart plan.
And while most of that, to this point, has seemingly involved Irving discussing whether now is the right time to return to basketball, a new report suggests the injured Brooklyn Nets point guard has gone one step further.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Irving “urged” his Nets teammates to skip the NBA bubble in a separate group chat, and even raised the possibility of the players starting their own league.
That claim was quickly refuted, with sources telling the Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks that Irving “never stated” that the Nets should begin their own league.
According to Rooks, Irving left the group chat shortly after Bondy’s report came out.
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According to The Athletic, Irving told more than 80 NBA players on a conference call last week: “I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the (expletive). Something smells a little fishy. … I’m willing to give up everything I have (for social reform).”
Some star players on the call shared their view that sitting out the remainder of the season would adversely impact their economic outlook not just this season but moving forward, according to Yahoo Sports.
NBPA executive board member Irving and Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard, have suggested that playing could take away from the movement to spur immediate and dramatic change on racial issues in the country.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that if a player does not feel comfortable playing at Disney – whether for health reasons or because of the social-justice issues – then he does not have to report with his team and will not be disciplined, other than losing salary for games missed.
The NBA is planning on games in three arenas during the seeding-game portion of the restart, the ones where each of the 22 teams going to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex will play eight games before the playoffs begin.