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Lakers’ LeBron James has defended Kyrie Irving, but what exactly did he say about the Nets star?

With the NBA’s commissioner saying he believes Irving’s punishment is fair and a growing number of players and fans alike saying its excessive, surely something has got to give.

Lakers’ LeBron James has defended Kyrie Irving, but what exactly did he say about the Nets star?
Mike EhrmannAFP

Having won an NBA title with Irving when they both played for the Cavs, the Lakers star has some idea about the under-fire Nets star and in that regard, came to his defense in the wake of mounting pressure against him.

Kyrie Irving’s ‘antisemitic’ fiasco: A Recap

While we’re pretty sure Irving didn’t give his now infamous social media post much thought at the time, we’re guessing he’s done some reflection since he offered up a link to a documentary that has been widely condemned as antisemitic. In the time between then and now, the Nets star gave an ambiguous statement acknowledging he had offended some, before donating $500K alongside his team to the Anti-Defamation League, refused to apologize for his actions when directly asked to do so, was suspended without pay by his team and most recently saw his partnership with Nike suspended, something that co-founder Phil Knight says will become a permanent move.

Suffice to say, it’s been a tough time for Irving in recent days who it must be said did finally apologize via his Instagram account. There is one silver lining, however, and it’s the fact that Irving met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver earlier this week and it’s understood that the conversation was in fact a positive one, to the extent that Silver declared he has no doubt that Irving is not antisemitic. This of course brings us all the way to the present, where Irving is serving his minimum five-game suspension while facing a list of requirements that he must meet to be reinstated. Interestingly, the NBAPA had previously indicated they had issue with the list and now it seems one of Irving’s former teammates agrees with that notion as well.

LeBron James has issue with Kyrie Irving’s punishment

If you’re wondering what it is that Irving has been asked to do, let’s refresh your memory. In addition to the aforementioned suspension - without pay - the Nets star must complete the following steps before he can return to the court:

  • Issue a verbal apology and condemn the antisemitic film he shared
  • Share that apology on social media
  • Complete sensitivity trainings
  • Meet with Jewish leaders in the Brooklyn community
  • Meet with Tsai
  • Make a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes

This is where Lakers icon LeBron James offered his opinion. A former teammate of Irving’s, James played three seasons alongside the point guard in Cleveland and actually managed to win a title with him. Speaking on the situation Irving faces, James said he believed Irving was “not the person that’s being portrayed of him,” before adding that Irving “should be allowed to play.” Though he didn’t touch on the antisemitic aspect of the situation surrounding his former teammate, it’s interesting to note that James is not alone in his stance. Earlier this week, Jaylen Brown who is the NBAPA’s vice president took a similar road saying, “The terms for his return, they seem like a lot, and a lot of the players expressed discomfort with the terms.” It is understood that the NBAPA intends to appeal Irving’s suspension.


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