Kyrie Irving last played for the Nets nearly a week ago, putting up 29 points in a 34-point blowout win over the Utah Jazz. Since that game, on Jan. 5, he’s been MIA from the Brooklyn Nets, for reasons that haven’t really been explained.
News of his absence wasn’t reported until just before the Nets’ game on Jan. 7 against the 76ers when Steve Nash disclosed that Irving wasn’t with the team and that he hadn’t heard from Irving about what the issue was. Irving did not join the team on their flight to Memphis and missed both that road game and a Sunday home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Despite the absence and the lack of explanation, Kevin Durant is standing by his teammate. Speaking with the media on Sunday, Durant said, “I won’t speak on Kyrie. I’ll let him do that for himself. I’m sure you guys will see him soon whenever he comes back. We support him 100 percent and pray for the best.”
Why isn’t Kyrie Irving with the Nets right now?
Durant’s phrasing seems to indicate that he knows why Irving is out. The timing of Irving’s initial absence — the day after white nationalist terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol building — has led many to presume a connection, particularly given Irving’s social justice activism.
We obviously have no idea what the real reason and it will undoubtedly be hard for some to give Irving the benefit of the doubt. But his teammates are standing by him and regardless of the exact reason, it’s clearly something serious. Here’s hoping Irving is safe and healthy wherever he is.