Legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has voiced his support for Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving.
“I’d rather not speak for Kyrie,” Krzyzewski explained during a Thursday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” as shared by Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post. “I love Kyrie. I have a great relationship with him. He’s really smart and really talented, and as a result of having this exposure, his own shoe, which now, Nike has stopped their relationship, it’s a different world. It’s tough, unless you’re with a person all the time, to see how all that has influenced. But with me, I love him. I’m in his corner, and I’m here to help him if he feels like I can help him.”
Irving hasn’t played since Nov. 1 due to a suspension without pay related to his linking to a movie and book that contain antisemitic tropes via social media along with his initial refusal to apologize and say “he has no antisemitic beliefs.” Irving played under Krzyzewski when both were associated with the Duke Blue Devils and, later, with Team USA.
“I do want him, just like any of our players, to know that I’m there for whatever,” Krzyzewski added during his Thursday comments. “Kyrie actually played more games for me with the U.S. team than he did for Duke. I got to know him [more] along the way.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Irving will miss an eighth contest, Thursday’s matchup at the Portland Trail Blazers, but could be cleared to return to the Nets for Sunday’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Kyrie is continuing his journey of dialogue and education,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio told ESPN for Wednesday’s update. “He has been grappling with the full weight of the impact of his voice and actions, particularly in the Jewish community. Kyrie rejects antisemitism in any form, and he’s dedicated to bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding. He plans to continue this journey well into the future to ensure that his words and actions align with his pursuit of truth and knowledge.”
Fellow Nets star Kevin Durant said Thursday that teammates “miss” Irving and that he is “looking forward to (Irving’s) return to the team.”
Brooklyn sat at 6-9 on the season heading into Thursday night.