A Duke basketball star has the ultimate decision whether he plays or sits.
Normally when a decision needs to be made whether a player plays or sits in a game, the choice is made by a handful of people, but not when it comes to one Duke basketball standout.
In surprising news hours prior to the Brooklyn Nets’ (5-4) tipoff against the Philadelphia 76ers (7-2), the team announced that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving would not play due to personal reasons.
Speculation raged in the New York market and across the NBA as to why the All-NBA standout would not play in a nationally televised game against the best team in the Eastern Conference on the young season.
Head coach Steve Nash said pregame that he did not have an exact reason for Irving’s absence and he had not been able to get in contact with his starting point guard.
Brooklyn is already playing without Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined due to COVID-19 quarantine regulations after being in close contact with a person who had tested positive.
However, in the midst of the Nets’ game with the 76ers, Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, a senior writer for Heavy.com, as well as a contributor with other sports media platforms, reported that Irving “just didn’t want to play” on Thursday night.
Kyrie Irving was not on the bench for Brooklyn in its 122-109 victory.
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert said Irving texted Nets players prior to the game saying he would not be playing.
Duke basketball star continues to put himself under the microscope
After an injury-plagued 2019-20 season, Kyrie Irving was very vocal in players not traveling to the NBA’s bubble in Orlando to resume the season because of social and racial justice issues.
It was previously reported that Irving would go to the bubble to support his Nets teammates despite not playing because of injury, but he opted not to make the trip after becoming vocal about the issues.
There was speculation among fans and local media that Irving might not have played on Thursday in protest because of the raiding of the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
To begin the 2020-21 season, the former No. 1 overall pick was fined $25,000 for putting out a statement in place of holding a press conference during Brooklyn’s preseason media availability.
The Nets raced out to two dominating wins in its first two games of the season before stumbling heading into the new calendar year, dropping four of its next five games.
Kyrie Irving recently pledged enough money to pay for the college tuition of nine students at Lincoln University.
Irving scored 29 points in 30 minutes against the Utah Jazz in the last time he took the floor where the Nets got back to .500 on the season with a 130-96 victory on Tuesday night.
Brooklyn is scheduled to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, January 8 (8:00pm EST), and it is not expected that Kyrie Irving will travel or join the team in Tennessee.