Kyrie Irving issued a stern warning to anyone questioning his passion for the game of basketball in light of his increased focus on police and social reform, in addition to his outspoken opposition to a restart of the 2019-20 NBA season: "Don't play with me."
Irving appeared on Instagram Live with his sister Asia on Sunday to give people a glimpse at the two colorways for the Kyrie 6 that she designed. During their conversation, the Brooklyn Nets star seemed to address anyone who had something to say about what he refers to as "my art."
"It's about on the court, look at my resume, look at the classics, look at my art," he said. "I created it for going on 10-plus years now. Don't play with me. Don't play with what I do on a day in and day out basis to provide and go out there and create."
The clip is very much in the mold of Irving's typical stream of consciousness musings, as he begins by talking about the joy that he gets from playing basketball, then breaks off into something about being "a commodity that people make fun of" before returning to defend his "art."
It can be very confusing, but what can't be misunderstood is his desire to bring about justice for Breonna Taylor and other women of color. Last week, Irving produced a special program for the PlayersTV digital and broadcast network called #SayHerName: Breonna Taylor, which called for action in response to Taylor's death, encouraged others to continue saying her name on social media, and featured pleas to local and state officials to do the right thing.
"It's a very sensitive time and it's very important to speak out on behalf of all our Black Queens," Irving said, per Heavy. "It's my responsibility to be an acknowledgement of all the things that I can do to elevate what's happening and how I can make change; whether that is utilizing my voice or whether if it is being there and being present. But it's very important for me because I have a young daughter. She's four years old and I'm raising her in this climate, in this society right now, and to hear news like this that is going on and females' names are getting lost in the shuffle."