Sports

LeBron James shows support toward suspended Kyrie Irving: ‘He should be playing’

LeBron James initially criticized his former teammate Kyrie Irving, saying the Brooklyn Nets guard “caused some harm to a lot of people” when he tweeted a link to an antisemitic film and was unapologetic about it.

However, now that Irving has apologized, James thinks the Nets should relinquish his suspension.

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Kyrie Irving of the Nets and the Lakers’ LeBron James high-five after a game on Jan. 23, 2020, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple,” James tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”

The Nets suspended Irving due to his response toward the backlash he received, deeming him “unfit to be associated” with the team.

Brooklyn suspended Irving for at least five games, but they gave the guard a six-part to-do list he must complete to return to the team, which includes donations and trainings. Irving’s apology on social media satisfied one of the team’s demands.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers in action against the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving at Barclays Center on Jan. 23, 2020, in New York City.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers in action against the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving at Barclays Center on Jan. 23, 2020, in New York City.
(Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)

LEBRON JAMES SHARES THOUGHTS ON KYRIE IRVING, SAYS HE ‘CAUSED SOME HARM TO A LOT OF PEOPLE’

Nike has also suspended its relationship with Irving, who has been a top-five seller for the brand. The suspension includes Nike holding its release of Irving’s new Kyrie 8 sneaker.

Irving also reportedly met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Tuesday in a “productive and understanding visit.”

Irving has missed the Nets’ last four games – if Irving serves the minimum five games the Nets gave him, he would return on Sunday at James’ Lakers – however, James suffered a groin injury on Wednesday night.

The Nets are 3-1 in their four games without Irving, including a 128-86 win over the Washington Wizards last Friday and a 112-85 victory over their cross-borough rival Knicks on Wednesday.

Kyrie Irving in action against LeBron James at Barclays Center on Jan. 23, 2020, in New York City. The Lakers won, 128-113.

Kyrie Irving in action against LeBron James at Barclays Center on Jan. 23, 2020, in New York City. The Lakers won, 128-113.
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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James and Irving won an NBA title together over the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016, where Irving hit the Finals-winning three-pointer in the last minute of Game 7, and James was named the Finals MVP for the third time after winning his third ring.

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