Kyrie Irving will return to the court on Sunday after he “profoundly” apologized for his tweet late last month in which he shared an anti-Semitic movie.
Irving was fired on November 3rd. He had previously said in a statement that he took responsibility for the tweet, but apologized profusely in an interview with SportsNet New York (SNY).
“I just want to focus on the hurt I caused or the impact I had within the Jewish community.” By putting any sort of threat, or perceived threat, on the Jewish community, I just want to sincerely apologize for all of my actions for the time since the post was first posted,” Irving said in the interview published Sunday.
He added that he had “very effective, very effective” conversations with several leaders of the Jewish community, finally finding out why his original post had a negative effect on people.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think, but my initial focus, if I could do it over again, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters,” Irving added.
Irving also told SNY’s Ian Begley that he is not anti-Semitic, adding that the ordeal has also been difficult for his family.
In a now-deleted post, Irving tweeted a link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a 2018 film based on the 2015 book of the same name, which contains a lot of anti-Semitic language.
Irving has come under fire from the Nets owner Joe Tsai, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and basketball legends Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, along with Jewish organizations.
Nike also suspended its relationship with the seven-time All-Star and canceled the company’s release of his ninth signature shoe, saying in a statement that the company has no place for “hate speech” and “anti-Semitism.”
“The part that hasn’t been difficult is explaining myself because I know who I am, I know what I stand for.” But I think the hard part is just processing it all, understanding the power of my voice, the impact that I have,” Irving told Begley.
“I’m not anybody’s idol, but I’m a person who wants to make an impact and make a difference.” In order to do that, I must live responsibly and set a better example for our youth. For my generation and the older generation.”
In a statement to ESPN on Sunday, the Nets said Kyrie has taken “ownership” of his actions. “We are pleased that he is moving through the process in a meaningful way,” the team said.
Irving also serves as the vice president of the NBA Players Association, which said in a statement Sunday that it was “looking forward to having Kyrie back on the court tonight.”
The Nets are set to face the Memphis Grizzlies in New York City at 7 p.m