Kyrie Irving made his first comments to reporters since he took an extended break from the Brooklyn Nets in recent weeks, and was fined for breaking the league's COVID-19 protocols.
"It's time to move on," he said Tuesday, when ESPN's Malika Andrews asked whether he knowingly violated the league's coronavirus rules. "Happy to be back."
He was also asked to shed some light on his extended absence, which became one of the great mysteries of the early season.
Irving added that he “just needed a pause.”
Last week, the NBA fined Irving $50,000 for attending his sister's birthday party. Irving was forced to quarantine for five days and lost $400,000 per missed game during that time.
Irving is returning to a Nets team that has remade itself during his brief absence. Since his last game with the team, they acquired James Harden from the Houston Rockets. The inclusion of one of the league's best scorers pushed away any doubt about the Nets' short-term goals. With Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant on the court, this is unquestionably a superteam pushing for a championship immediately. If Irving is excited at the possibility of rings, he didn't show it in this presser. He spent most of the time looking visibly tired and resting his head on his arms.
He opened up a bit when talk turned to his philanthropic work. Irving recently bought a house for the family of George Floyd and he was forthcoming about his initiatives outside of basketball.