As Brian Lewis reports Saturday, there’s nothing new with Kyrie Irving’s situation, There’s no indication he’ll get vaccinated and the emergence of new variant, called Omicron, likely means more restrictions down the road than a lifting of New York’s mandate on local pro athletes.
Still, across the board, the Nets from co-owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai to teammate and fellow Jerseyan DeAndre’ Bembry are not putting pressure on their superstar guard, but rather giving him space.
In comments last week to Michael Grady, Wu Tsai spoke of how she was looking forward to seeing Irving return to the Nets.
“Kyrie has done great philanthropic work both locally and globally and he cares so much about humanity. He and I have had several conversations over the years about issues that we care about. namely social justice and empowering women and women of the NBA,” said Wu Tsai, herself a founding partner of the Meek Mill-inspired REFORM Alliance.
“These are things he really cares about and we’ve really connected over that. I have to say that I really miss seeing Kyrie on the court and looking forward to having him rejoin us.”
Last month, Joe Tsai told NetsDaily he had “all the patience” while waiting for Irving.
“I have all the patience!” said the Nets owner when asked what was his level of patience. “He’s on the team right? He’s on the roster. He’s just not on the court. You’re in an environment where this is a team sport You have to have patience with all sorts of things.”
“I stay in touch with Kyrie, but we don’t really talk about basketball,” coach Steve Nash said recently when asked by The Post, “Just stay in touch and make sure everything is good with him.”
On Wednesday, Bembry laid out to Lewis how he’s approaching Irving who like him played high school ball at St. Patricks of Elizabeth, NJ (now the Patrick School in Hillside).
“At this point, I send certain messages because I know his phone’s getting blown up at this time,” DeAndre’ Bembry told Lewis. “So I try to give him his space, because I know he’s just one of those people that needs his space sometimes to collect his thoughts and his energy and stuff. So for the most part, I definitely sent him a couple messages over this time to just check up on him, make sure he’s good.
“I know he’s good, I know he’ll figure this out and get through it. But for the most part, like I said, I try to give him his space, because I know I know how this could be. I know a lot of his family’s calling him, friends, fans and all type of people; so try to give them a little bit of space with all of this that’s going on.”
Irving’s public appearances have been limited. He was seen sitting courtside seen at a Seton Hall basketball game at Prudential Center and before that, there was amateur video of him playing touch football at a New Jersey school. After his Instagram Live video on October 14 announcing his position on vaccination, Irving has been mostly quiet, posting images on the app and decrying the jury verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Ex-Knick Tim Thomas, who sat with Irving at the Seton Hall game, said Irving has been working out and the two are working on a program involving New Jersey hoops.
So what’s next? Bembry said he and Irving’s other teammates will keep in contact but will also give him space.
“Exactly. That’s pretty it. If you know Ky, you know he loves his personal space,” Bembry said. “So being able to let him work through this, because obviously we all want him back. But it’s more so about his decisions right now and what he wants to do. So we can’t really do too much about it. We just pray for him and hope that he can come back.”
- Nets continue to support Kyrie Irving, but know he ‘needs his space’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post