Kyrie Irving suited up in his first NBA game on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing eight games due to a team-mandated suspension. Irving had been suspended from play for over two weeks because he promoted an antisemitic film on social media.
During his suspension, Irving met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai over his comments. The point guard has given multiple apologies and states that he does not condone any form of antisemitism or hate towards the Jewish community or any other ethnic group.
Irving stated that he has better understood his influence over his fans and what he posts on social media.
"I'm no one's idol, but I am a human being that wants to make an impact and change. In order to do that, I have to live responsibly and set a greater example for our youth, for my generation and the older generation," said Irving in an interview with SNY.
The Nets have climbed the standings in the Eastern Conference, and the return of Irving will continue their steady climb up the table of the East. Brooklyn nets head coach Jacque Vaughn had no issues reinstating Irving into the starting lineup as the team's starting point guard.
"He'll start, and we'll see where his conditioning is, the pace of the game which we want to play at. Excited to have him back on the floor with our group, and he'll fit right in," said Vaughn of Irving's status on the team.
Irving managed to shake off the rust as he gained 14 points and five rebounds in the Nets' 127-115 win over the Grizzlies. The Nets have gone 5-3 since the suspension of Irving, with the offense being carried by mainly Kevin Durant, as he was the only player on the Nets averaging over 20 points a game. With Irving back, it will hopefully put some pressure off Durant and bring the Nets up to a winning record throughout the season.
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