Between settling into a new offense and coyly reciting monologues from Altered Carbon in his spare time, Kyrie Irving has had few opportunities to comment on Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong tweet and the reckoning with the NBA’s malleable corporate politics that followed. The league canceled news conferences for the Lakers-Nets preseason games in China earlier this month, much to the chagrin of those eager to hear Irving’s thoughtful consideration of chemtrails and the various territorial claims to the South China Sea. At long last, he withdrew briefly from his higher plane of consciousness to discuss the situation, dressing any mildly interesting statements he made (“I can understand why protestors come to the game. America was built on protesting, built on slavery”) in twelve layers of obfuscation (“I speak objectively, but also subjectively”).
Here, transcribed, is Irving’s response to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews asking about protestors wearing “Stand with Hong Kong” shirts at the Raptors-Nets preseason game at Barclays Friday night. Some context: Irving had told reporters earlier that he stands for four things, “inner peace, freedom, equality and world peace.” Make of it what you can:
Well, I think that, you know, when you think about communities across the world, I think that a lot of people would stand for world peace. You know, government gets involved, impacts different communities in different ways. And the reality is that as individuals, it’s our job to stand up for what we believe in.
Now, I understand that Hong Kong and China is dealing with their issues respectively, but there’s enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well. And that’s one of those four pillars that goes in terms of the black community. Colored people, here in America, we’re still fighting for everyday freedom. So you know, when I think about Hong Kong and China, the people are in an uproar and you know, for us as Americans to comment on it, whether it’s African-Americans or American Indians, to comment on that, you know, you’re connected nonetheless. Especially when it impacts freedoms or world peace, like I said.
You know, for me, as an individual I stand up for those four pillars. When they’re being conflicted, I can understand why protestors come to the game. America was built on protesting, built on slavery, let alone. But things happen all across the world and we’re just taking notice and social media puts it right in front of everyone’s faces. And if you’re not thinking with a selfless attitude, then you can come out and kind of get yourself caught up in a few things politically that really impact a certain group of people in an area of the world. So I speak objectively, but also subjectively in terms of how I feel about the pillars that I stand by as a man.